Keen on quinoa

Quinoa’s time is here

By no stretch would I ever be called a healthy eater: I love the four Bs (burgers, butter, bread, and bacon). At the same time, I am the main chef for the family, with two small kids, so I try to make sure that we have a balanced meal with a good helping of vegetables – broccoli and/or zucchini are found on most dinner plates. When picking the starch portion of the meal, usually pasta, rice or potato, I now find myself reaching more to quinoa, a gluten-free grain that some say is the world’s healthiest food. Now that quinoa can be found at a more reasonable price here in Budapest, why not give it a try? Here is a dish you can make that won’t take too much time and is quite tasty.

Chicken with Mushroom and Garlic Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 180g quinoa, rinsed
  • 400g boneless chicken thighs, sliced into strips
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 250ml water
  • olive oil
  • 0.5 kg cremini (brown, but white will work) mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan

Instructions

  • Combine chicken stock and water in pan, bring to a boil, then add quinoa and cover, Simmer for 12-15 minutes or until quinoa has opened.
  • Season chicken strips with salt and pepper. Add a glug or two of olive oil and brown chicken in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from pan.
  • In the same pan add another glug of oil, mushrooms, and salt. Cook about 5 minutes then add the garlic, cook for 6-8 more minutes until mushrooms are sufficiently cooked through. Add chicken and cooked quinoa. Remove thyme leaves from stems and sprinkle on dish.
  • Garnish with grated parmesan cheese.

Tips

  • Quinoa needs to cook in slightly more than twice its volume of liquid. 1 cup quinoa plus 2 1/3 cups liquid.
  • If you have the quinoa that comes in a boil bag, just take it out of the bag and measure into a cup.
  • By the end of cooking, the liquid should be absorbed. Extra can be added while cooking if needed.

 

Did You Know?

  • It’s pronounced Keen-wah
  • Quinoa is a grain-like edible seed. It is a pseudo-cereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the true grass family.
  • Quinoa seeds are coated with saponin, a bitter substance that protects the seeds from predators. Sometimes they come pre-washed but it’s still better to make sure.
  • Quinoa is complete protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids.
  • Andean peoples in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Bolivia first cultivated quinoa some 7,000 years ago.
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein.