Keen on quinoa

In most cookbook indexes, the ``Q'' section is either tiny ornonexistent. Not so, however, in ``The Complete Whole GrainsCookbook.''

The reason: quinoa.

Judging from the buzz about the nutritional benefits of thisancient grain, you may soon be seeing bigger ``Q'' sections in alot of other cookbook indexes.

So what is quinoa (KEEN-wah) and why is it called a``supergrain''?

Technically, it's a seed, from a plant related to amaranth andspinach. It's of South American origin, and the Incas called it``the mother grain.''

Not only is quinoa higher in protein than most grains, it's alsoone of the rare vegetable sources of complete protein. It's high inmanganese, iron and dietary fiber; { half a cup of it counts asalmost two servings of whole grain. Eating whole-grain products anddietary fiber lowers the risk of high blood pressure and heartattack, and quinoa is also high in magnesium, which relaxes theblood vessels.

The type of quinoa we're most likely to find in natural-foodsstores and specialty supermarkets is light-colored, like a roundsesame seed. Less widely available is red quinoa, and even rarer isblack quinoa. Gluten-free, quinoa is also ground into flour, soldas a cereal and made into pasta.


Quinoa can be used like rice, barley, bulgur, millet or couscous --as a side dish; in salads, soups and casseroles; as a hot cereal.Before cooking, it should be rinsed to remove any traces of abitter coating called saponin. For a nuttier flavor, it can betoasted in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant beforecooking.

Quinoa can be cooked exactly like rice: Use one part quinoa to twoparts water or stock (plus salt to taste); bring to a boil, reduceheat to a simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes, let stand 5 minuteswith cover on. To microwave: Use one part quinoa to two parts wateror stock (salt to taste); cook on high 10 minutes, stir, cook onhigh 7 more minutes, cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Sources: "The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook'' by Judith Finalyson (Robert Rose, $24.95);; Quinoa Corp.


Serves 6

1Ã�Ã�Ã�½cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable stock or water

Ã�Ã�Ã�½{ cup coconut milk

Ã�Ã�Ã�¼cup dry-roasted peanuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

12 ounces pork tenderloin, thinly sliced

2 leeks, white part only, cleaned and sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

Ã�Ã�Ã�½teaspoon salt, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

14-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with juice

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 cup sliced green beans

  • 1. In a blender, combine stock, coconut milk and peanuts. Process
  • until smooth. Set aside.
  • 2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add
  • pork, in batches if necessary, and cook until lightly browned, about 1
  • minute per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • 3. Add leeks to pan and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5
  • minutes. Add garlic, chile, cumin, salt and pepper; cook, stirring,
  • for 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice and reserved peanut mixture and
  • bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa and green beans and return to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low. Stir in pork and any accumulated juices. Cover and
  • simmer until quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Nutritional analysis per serving: 338 calories, 14 grams fat, 34 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams protein, 37 milligrams cholesterol, 419 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 36 percent of calories from fat. ''The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook'' by Judith Finalyson (Robert Rose, $24.95) GUIDE TO GRAINS Nutrition information per 1 cup serving, cooked: Brown rice 114 calories 2.6g protein 23.6g carbohydrates 0.9g fat 1.5g dietary fiber Cornmeal 63 calories 1.2g protein 13.4g carbohydrates 0.7g fat 2.3g dietary fiber Rolled oats 45 calories 1.8g protein 7.9g carbohydrates 0.8g fat 1g dietary fiber Quinoa 106 calories 3.7g protein 19.5g carbohydrates 1.6g fat 2g dietary fiber Source: MCT wire service
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