Quinoa is very foreign to many people. I hear people mispronounce it all the time, even though it sounds just as it’s spelled (KEE-noh-ah). I wonder why people put accents in the wrong places, or change the sounds of the vowels.
Back in the late 1990s, living as a vegetarian in Quito, Ecuador, one of quinoa’s “homelands,” I was aware that this grain is a super food and complete protein. Although I’d eat it periodically, I did not master cooking it, nor did I have an affinity to it. I still preferred tofu that I had to purchase from Chinese vendors in the mercado, or my comfort food – peanut butter – which I could buy at the tienda de naturistas.
Most commonly, in Ecuador, I saw quinoa as a flavorless ingredient in soups that was usually added to provide extra nourishment. I was taught to put it in the blender with water to open up the grain and release some of the bitterness.
Fast forward almost 25 years to the U.S. and quinoa is sold in most all grocery stores and in many forms in the deli section of some grocers, and is frequently on the menu at vegetarian restaurants. But I found few really tasty quinoa dishes. Most seemed dry and mediocre. More of a nourishment than a treat to eat.
Well, finally, I’ve found a recipe that satisfies my quench for spices, and a desire for healthy, high protein, vegan dishes. Most importantly, it’s super simple to make, and can be eaten hot or cold. Try it, and play with it by adding other spices or ingredients. Buen provecho.
1 T. oil
1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
¾ c. dry quinoa
1 ½ t. curry power
½ t. each of salt, pepper and cumin
¼ t. cinnamon
1 ½ c. vegetable stock
¾ c. canned or cooked garbanzo beans
½ c. pine nuts
¼ c. raisins[/column]
In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until golden. Pour the quinoa and spices with stock into the pot. Cook on high until liquid begins to boil. Add in raisins, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes. When done, mix in the garbanzos and pine nuts and serve.