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It can be incredibly overwhelming when you try and cook with new ingredients that you have never tried before. I can imagine the panic of wondering if you have cooked it wrong, or too much, or too little. Well, cooking quinoa is no different and can leave any first-time tryer in a panic as they wonder if it is meant to be crunchy or not.
Table of Contents
- What Is Quinoa?
- Ways To Cook Quinoa
- Should You Use Quinoa More?
- FAQs On Quinoa
What Is Quinoa?
Quinoa is a grain that is increasing in popularity now more than ever. It originates from South America and is considered ancient while it has been completely ignored for centuries. Despite an age of not having any use, quinoa is now considered a ‘superfood’ due to its exceptionally high nutritional content that it has.
While it was recently brought to popularity by healthy gurus, this superfood is now becoming a staple in most households. This is due to the amazing health benefits and nutrition that quinoa possesses. It is also capable of growing in a range of conditions which makes it easy to access globally. Quinoa is also hailed as one of the potential foods to end world hunger and can also be eaten by people with celiac disease as it is gluten-free. Because of how low it is in carbs, quinoa is also the perfect addition to any keto diet as it is full of protein.
As for how it tastes, quinoa is compared to brown rice a lot as they both have the same hearty flavor. The flavor is not very bold so you do not have to worry about the quinoa taste ruining your dish or anything similar, it is very subtle.
Is Quinoa Crunchy?
When it comes to being cooked, quinoa is a lot like rice. Therefore, it can be a bit firm while still being edible. However, it should not be crunchy. Again, similar to rice, if quinoa is crunchy then that means you have undercooked it and it is raw.
It can still be firm, as mentioned. For some meals where the quinoa is very important and you want to bulk the meal out, you can slightly undercook it to add some texture. On the other hand, a lot of meals will have you cooking quinoa until it is soft and fluffy.
You can eat raw quinoa and undercooked quinoa, it will not harm you but it will also not go very well with the dish you are making if it is not cooked properly.
Ways To Cook Quinoa
As for ways to cook quinoa, there are a few. As you can imagine, you can cook it a lot like how you cook rice due to their similarities.
Before cooking quinoa, you will want to rinse it first. We rinse quinoa before cooking it so that we can get off all dirt, dust, and bacteria that may be clinging onto it. Another reason to rinse quinoa is to remove the bitter-tasting outer coating that it has. Eating raw quinoa is likely to make this taste a lot more noticeable so rinsing quinoa is borderline essential. If it tastes bitter, I’m sure you can imagine how bad the uncooked quinoa smell is.
The first way to cook quinoa is to boil it. Similar to rice and pasta, all you need to do is cover it with water (a ratio of 1:2 seems to work with quinoa and water respectfully) and boil it on high heat until it is done. It is best done by adding a big pinch of salt to your water as this both flavors and helps the quinoa cook.
Leave your quinoa in a saucepan until the water starts boiling. Once it is boiling, lower the heat so it is at a gentle simmer. You want to leave the pan uncovered so that the end product is tasty quinoa and not a mushy mess. Once 10-15 minutes have passed, you will notice that a lot, if not all, of the water, has been absorbed. This is good and is exactly what we want.
Once the water is absorbed, take the quinoa off of the heat and cover it with the lid. This will let the quinoa steam. This should be done for a few more minutes as it will result in a fluffy dish full of quinoa.
While there are many similarities between quinoa and rice, you still might be surprised to know that you can cook it in a rice cooker. You want to treat your quinoa exactly as you would your rice. Add your water and quinoa into the cooker and then turn it on. The rice cooker monitors the weight of your food so it will automatically go into a warming setting once it knows the water is absorbed.
The rice cooker will do all of this for you, however, towards the end, it is good to pay attention as the cooker might overcook the quinoa a bit. This will result in an unpleasant taste from the burnt quinoa and also a huge mess to clean up as it will stick to your rice cooker.
Slow Cook With Food
While this may seem a bit unorthodox, hear me out. You can easily bulk up any meal of your choosing by adding quinoa to it. This low-carb high-protein superfood can be thrown in with almost anything and make it a healthier meal.
The cooking will depend on what the other parts of the meal are, yet there are a couple of tips to know before you try it to make sure that you perfect it the first time.
- Ensure you have enough liquid in the slow cooker to support the process of cooking quinoa
- Add the quinoa halfway through and let it simmer, this also means it does not matter if your dish is a little too watery initially
Should You Use Quinoa More?
Honestly, after reading what you have already, I can imagine that you are rushing to the shop to buy some quinoa. It is a smart move as this superfood is so healthy and easy to add to any meal you want to. Eating quinoa does not have to be a chore as it is so easy to prepare and cook. Quinoa finishes cooking in no time and can be added to as many tasty recipes as you can think of.
FAQs On Quinoa
Is it OK for quinoa to be crunchy?
Quinoa should not be crunchy after you have cooked it. It is okay for there to be a bit of a firm bite to it, but nothing should crunch while you are eating it otherwise it is undercooked.
Is quinoa supposed to be crunchy or soft?
Quinoa is meant to be soft when fully cooked, similar to rice. There can be a slight firmness to it if you choose, but it should never be crunchy unless it is raw.
Is my quinoa undercooked?
If your quinoa is crunchy or requires more effort to eat than a grain of cooked rice, then yes it is undercooked. Quinoa is meant to be just as fluffy and soft as rice when it is properly cooked.
What is the texture of quinoa when cooked?
The texture of quinoa when cooked is identical to the texture of rice. It is soft, fluffy, and very easy to eat. If your quinoa is crunchy or hard then it is undercooked.