Native to the Andean mountains of South American, the cultivation of quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) dates back to the Incan empire some 4000 years ago. The Incas referred to quinoa as “mother grain” because of its central role in their diets and cultural lives.Quinoa has a pleasantly sweet, earthy, delicately grassy flavor that goes well with a variety of flavorings and preparations, everything from breakfast cereal to savory vegetarian entrees. Quinoa also has a unique texture that manages to be soft and creamy while offering a pleasant pop-like crunch—inspiring some people to call it “vegetable caviar”.
At harvest quinoa kernels have a natural pest-resistant coating (called saponin) that is harmless but unpleasantly bitter-tasting. Many processors rinse and dry the kernels before packaging, but it’s good practice to rinse quinoa well before cooking—especially when buying in bulk. Using broth in place of water will add savory flavor and nutritional value.
Makes about 4 cups