Cooking quinoa is a lot easier than pronouncing it. Insiders call it keen-wah rather than quin-oh-ah, but nobody seems to care what I call it. This curious carb looks and feels the same as couscous, except that it tastes a whole lot nicer. Once you give quinoa a shot, you’ll be outraged that couscous ever seduced you.
With its encyclopaedic mineral and vitamin profile, quinoa is by far the healthiest grain in my cupboard. It’s real fast food with a nutritional halo. Each seed is host to an army of minerals to help service our adrenal glands. These are the call centres for stress and mood.
Each seed is host to an army of minerals
Athletes love quinoa for its low glycemic value. All this means is that a bowl of quinoa can drip feed your body, brain and dimples for longer than white bread or pasta. Apparently, it also has higher levels of calcium and protein than dairy. Hail quinoa!
- Rinse the quinoa in a sieve under running cold water for a good 30 seconds (some grains have a bitter coating).
- Knock the wet quinoa into a small saucepan. (Bits will stick to the sieve. No matter.)
- Add the hot chicken stock or boiling water to the quinoa, sprinkle in the spices and simmer on a medium heat for 15 minutes with a lid on. The kitchen will smell incredible.
- You can tell quinoa is cooked once the tail of the seed comes away from the grain. A nifty trick is to remove the pot from the heat after 12 minutes, drain all the water and cover the pot with a tightly sealed lid for another 5 minutes. This way, the quinoa won’t stick to the base or burn. Any residual heat left in the pot should fluff the grains up nicely.
- To poach eggs, make sure you have the freshest eggs possible, left at room temperature, otherwise the eggs may become very disobedient.
- Using a small heavy-based saucepan, bring 8cm of water to a simmer. Swirl the water in a circular motion like a whirlpool and slide the raw egg into the middle.
- Many chefs swear that adding cider vinegar to the water will make the egg white behave. Your call. Watch carefully, and remove with a slotted spoon after 60–90 seconds to drain the water off your plump little treasure. Don’t worry if it looks like half the egg white is floating in the saucepan. That always happens to me and yet the eggs turn out beautifully.
- To serve, add a good lick of extra virgin olive oil and a few turns of the pepper mill to the quinoa.
- Chop up any rocket or herbs you can resuscitate from the fridge and stir them through. Divide between 2 or 3 bowls and crown with a perfectly poached egg. Poke the egg yolk a little so its lava oozes out.
Extract taken from the Extra Virgin Kitchen Recipes by Susan Jane White.