Monday, 31 January 2011

Quinoa Pilaf

For some reason I have never really gotten into cooking quinoa. Actually, I know why; I tried it when it first came out and I didn't realize it had to be RINSED really well to remove its bitter, soapy-tasting natural coating. Ugh! That really put me off. Now I know that, and also I think that most quinoa is sold pre-rinsed nowadays. (Although I'm still going to rinse mine really, really well.) Anyway, Mum served us some quinoa (done more or less this same way) last week and I thought, yeah, I should get into that. Especially since it is something we could grow in the garden...

So, this was a fairly experimental dish for me. I did try it twice this weekend, once with a red quinoa and once with the more common pale straw-coloured quinoa. In either case you are to cook it until most of the little white thread-like seed embryos(?) separate from the seeds, looking like tiny white rings. My impression is that the red quinoa takes longer to cook than the light quinoa, but I also did it in a pan and the light quinoa in the rice-cooker (so much easier!) I also found that most people say it will cook in 10 to 15 minutes - no way, Jose! Twenty minutes for sure, and for the red I would allow half an hour at least. At least with the quinoa I had, and when I think about it I remember that we had to wait some extra time for Mum's quinoa to be done too, because it took noticeably longer to cook than advertised.

4 servings
50 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

Quinoa Pilaf
1 cup quinoa
1 2/3 cups broth, maybe a bit more

1 medium onion
1 medium carrot
1 1/2 cups grated rutabaga
1 1/2 cups grated celeriac
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
salt & pepper to taste


Rinse the quinoa very thoroughly, and drain well - you will need a fine-mesh strainer for this. Put it in your handy-dandy rice-cooker (or a heavy bottomed pot) with the broth .

Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion. Peel and grate the carrot, the rutabaga and the celeriac. Heat the oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion until soft and slightly browned. Add the remaining vegetables, and cook down for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add these to the rice-cooker (or pot) with the broth and quinoa, and mix well. Either turn on the rice-cooker and let it do its thing, or bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the quinoa until the broth is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 20 to 40 minutes. If the broth is gone before the quinoa is done, you may need to add a little more.

Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Fluff it up a bit by running a fork through it.

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