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How to cook quinoa

We know it's great for us, but what do we do with it? Here's how to cook quinoa.

By Danielle Colley
Quinoa is often thought to be a grain, but it is actually a brilliant seed that would benefit most diets. That said, how to cook quinoa is still somewhat of a mystery for many.
With its low glycemic index, high protein and low carbohydrate, it’s little wonder that quinoa has been slapped the with the SUPERFOOD moniker. It is also gluten-free so it is a great dietary option for people with gluten-intolerance.
Quinoa comes in three colours – red, white and black, which makes it pretty funky but there is no significant difference between them. They taste the same, they cook the same and they are all equally splendid for your body.
So, we know that this teeny Aztec seed is a dietary powerhouse, but how do you cook quinoa?
1:3 ratio is the magic number
It can be served in a variety of ways either hot or cold, sweet or savoury, so once you have mastered the simple solids to liquid ratio the world is your oyster…or seed as the case may be.
The main thing to remember about quinoa is you cook it using the absorption method and the ratio is one part quinoa to three parts liquid.
You add the desired amount to a heavy-based saucepan with a lid, and add liquid. Put the lid on. Once it has come to the boil reduce it to a simmer for 25 minutes, put it on a simmer pad on the stove if your stove runs hot – much like rice. You can tell when it's ready because the swollen seeds poke out a little off-white tail.
Cooked quinoa swells to approximately three times its raw state, so one cup of raw seeds will swell to three cups of cooked quinoa. Quinoa can be used instead of rice or cous-cous, or it can be added to salads or baking.
While people usually cook quinoa using only water, you can substitute half of the water with stock to add flavour, or add half coconut milk to create a delicious, creamy breakfast.
If you want a more porridge-like consistency change the ratio from 1:3 to 1:4 using milk or coconut milk for a healthy and filling breakfast. Topped with yoghurt, nuts and berries you have a breakfast of champions that will keep you going until lunch-time.
Otherwise, serve it with your favourite meal and know you’re doing yourself system, and taste buds, a favour.

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