There are many different ways to cook quinoa; it all really depends on which quinoa recipes you are going to follow and what other ingredients you will use. If you want to know how to cook quinoa properly then please follow our example below.
The most common and basic way is to simply boil it in water. The mix ratio is 1 part quinoa grain to 2 parts water.
You will first need to wash the grain thoroughly to get rid of all the bits and excess coating on the seeds, this also allows for a cleaner grain for cooking. Not all grain requires this cleansing process as some come already pre-washed. If you have done the process correctly you will see a layer of foam or froth appear on top of the water whilst cooking.
Once this process has been completed you can then begin the cooking. You first put the grain in a fair size pan and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and then simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes. Now depending on your preference, if you wish the grain to be a little firm and crunchy, then only simmer for 10 minutes. If you prefer it softer and a little fluffy then use the whole 15 minutes to simmer. Obviously, the more times you cook quinoa the more you will get to know how you like it and can adjust the cooking or simmer time accordingly.
Many people find that just boiling it in water can be a little plain, so if you wish to have a little more flavour here are a few great ideas:
Try adding vegetable or meat stock to the water, this will then soak into the grain giving it extra flavour, you can even add some olive oil to give it substance. Also try different herbs, even spices that you like as they will provide a little kick to the rice too. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different additives such as herbs and things, the more adventurous you are the better the dish is sometimes.
Quinoa is quite versatile when it comes to adding other ingredients and these flavours are great if you are just using the quinoa as an accompaniment to your main meal; as they don’t overpower the flavour of the rice.
It may also be useful to know how to cook quinoa using your microwave. There is no time advantage by doing it this way as it takes pretty much the same amount of time, and not only that; cooking quinoa in the microwave requires you to continually watch it so it doesn’t over cook, whereas you can leave the rice simmering on the hob. Try it on max power for about 13-14 minutes (depending on the microwave you are using and how powerful it is), but vary depending on your preference as with the boiling method.
So far we have shown you how to cook quinoa as a single food source, but you do not have to go through the same process if you are making a risotto or soup, even casseroles, as the rice can be cooked together with the other ingredients and will bulk up during cooking. So the preparation is a little quicker.
By cooking quinoa as a main dish with other ingredients you must remember to add more water to the pot, as quinoa absorbs a lot of the liquid used in this process. This will also help to thicken the recipe which means you can reduce other thickening agents such as corn flour that you may be using. You will be far more satisfied after your meal and feel fuller for longer due to quinoa being a complex carbohydrate. Like rice in general, it swells in your tummy making you feel full, which means from a weight loss point of view you won’t be as hungry as often.
There are many varying quinoa recipes around, but some of my favourites are making the quinoa grain into cakes, scones and cookies. You cook it in the same way described above by boiling it in water and simply follow the cake recipe. You can even try using it as a breakfast recipe by cooking it as a type of porridge, try adding a little fruit to add flavour.
I hope you have found our methods useful and a good guide on how to cook quinoa correctly; also that it’s given you a little inspiration in how you can use quinoa in all sorts of other dishes.