So I often get asked “Do we REALLY need to rise quinoa or rice before we use it?” And the answer is “Yes!”
“Keen-wah” or however you’re supposed to pronounce surfaced in the foodie world several years ago as the ‘next best thing’. However truth be told, it’s been around forever. It’s just folks were so used to rice that this little grain kind of got lost. Then people became health conscious (yeah!) and wanted better foods, less carbs, proteins and ultimately a variety of foods other than rice.
Quinoa, to me, tastes like nothing when you make it in water. It’s kind of like rice…flavorless. BUT when you cook it in stock it’s amazing! Now we’re all looking to eat better and live a healthy lifestyle. Quinoa is what you need! It’s a highly nutritious carbohydrate, that’s not only going to help you stay lean, but will also maximize your energy levels! So what is anyway? Is it a grain or rice? Neither actually. It’s actually the seed of a leafy green plant called Chenopodium.
So why clean it? Does it really make a difference? Actually yes. It’s kind of like buying produce – you would never buy produce, bring it up and use it without washing/cleaning it before eating it, right? So why wouldn’t you do the same for quinoa or rice?
Quinoa, while seriously delish, In nature, quinoa has Saponin, a naturally occurring chemical that coats each grain. This chemical is created to ward of insects and creepy-crawling things. But more importantly, as if there is something more important than creepy-crawly things, Saponin has a really bitter, almost soapy, taste to it. To rinse it, just invest in a fine-mesh strainer and run it under water for a few minutes while kind of running your fingers through it.
Rice, while it doesn’t have any natural chemicals that make it taste icky, does have a great cooking benefit when it’s rinsed. Not only does rinsing your rice remove any debris from packaging but it also removes the surface starch that makes rice clump and sticky. Have you ever made rice that clumps together or turns gummy when cooked? Yeah, that’s surface starch. Just like quinoa, run under water for a few minutes running your fingers through it.
Items I recommend:
Now for me I have a few different fine mesh strainers as they are used from steeping tea, dusting on cocoa/confectioners’ sugar to rinsing small grains. I like these ones as the handles are coated and they feel nice in my hand. PLUS the large one is 8″ which is great when you want to strain larger amounts.
Fine Mesh Strainer
Want to make some amazing quinoa at home? Try one of these recipes!