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Bread bulletin: Red quinoa ring

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Up until a few years ago, many of us in Malaysia were not even aware of quinoa, a super crop that has been around for thousands of years (the Incas called it "the mother of all grains"). I'm so happy we can get this seed (it's not a grain, as I first thought) so easily nowadays.

Because quinoa is so nutritious, people find ways of putting it into everything, from breakfast dishes to desserts. Bread is, of course, a good place for it. There are loads of quinoa bread recipes online, and here are the ones I looked into:
The Single Girl's Kitchen: Honey Quinoa Bread
The New York Times: Whole-Wheat Quinoa Bread
Chef In You: Quinoa Dinner Rolls

However, I went ahead and did my own thing. Actually, it was a combination of all three recipes ­­– only thing is, I threw things together in a bowl, literally. No measuring, no weighing, just a bunch of this and a scoop of that. All I went on was a famililar feel ­­– a texture that felt right, a

I had to be one lucky person because the bread was not a mess. It had a moist, slightly open crumb and the crust was chewy (it's brushed with egg). It wasn't the best bread I have made, but it was edible. I don't have another quinoa bread to compare it to so in a competition of one, this one did okay.

I believe this was a fluke though and won't be throwing things together again.

Puffed up and ready for baking (left); and just out of the oven
White quinoa is more common and tastes good, but the red quinoa that I used was excellent. It seems to have an even nuttier flavour. (Black quinoa is also available, and I will try that soon.) I should remember in the future to stop cooking it as soon as it plumps up and becomes tender. Recipes say to cook it in water/stock in a ratio of 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid, but I would cook it in a little less liquid. As soon as the quinoa is tender, take the pot off the heat. If there is still liquid in the pot, drain the quinoa. The seeds should still be whole and not split open.

I've only used quinoa for "western" type dishes so far so maybe I should try it, instead of rice, with curry. I wonder if it'll feel strange eating it with my fingers...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jane, I've just been reading through your blog this afternoon and am really impressed through and through. FYI, I found your blog because of searching on 'sourdough chapati' to see if I was going to do something new or something ill-advised.

    I wanted to comment here on this post about quinoa to encourage you to wash the dry grain before cooking it. And maybe you did, but when I first started cooking it, I'm not sure if I even rinsed. A longer wash will remove the saponins, which impart a slightly weird, bitter taste. Saponins, for anyone wondering, are natural soapy things found in some plants and not so tasty to eat.

    Separately, I was going to share something alarming I heard about quinoa recently, but found this more thorough story, instead, and link it here for your mutual edification. About quinoa in its native homeland.


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