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Quinoa: The Supergrain Of The Future

Tiny, bead-shaped, with a slightly bitter flavour and firm texture, quinoa may not be a household name just yet, but it is set for a starry future – as far as grains go. The Incas have known it all along, for thousands of years regarding it as the ‘mother grain’ as they grew it high up in the Andes.

Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa is a complete protein – containing all eight of the essential amino acids. It has been recognised by the United Nations as a supercrop for its health benefits: packed with dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest. The facts suggest it is close to a perfect ingredient as you can get.

Health Benefits of Quinoa:

Quinoa dates back three to four thousand years ago when the Incas first realized that the quinoa seed was fit for human consumption.
Who would not want to reap the benefits of this amazing superfood?

Here are seven health benefits of quinoa:

  1. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.
  2. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation. It also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and may help you to lose weight as it takes a longer time to chew than does other foods because it makes you feel fuller for longer and is less “energy dense” which means it has fewer calories for the same volume of food.

  3. Quinoa contains Iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function because the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. There are many benefits of iron some more of which include neurotransmitter synthesis, regulation of body temperature, aids enzyme activity and energy metabolism.

  4. Quinoa contains lysine. Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.

  5. Quinoa is rich in magnesium. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. Other health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.

  6. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2). B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells.

  7. Quinoa has a high content of manganese. Manganese is an antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.

Colour coded

Quinoa comes in three different colours – white, red and black. White is most widely available, and also the quickest to cook. Black takes the longest to cook and keeps more of its crunchy texture. Red is somewhere in the middle. Recommended, a blend of all three, if it is available, so you get some texture from the black, but it’s not too crunchy.

Spice trail

Quinoa works brilliantly with Middle Eastern and Indian spices such as cumin, coriander and paprika. For easy flavouring, add a pinch while the quinoa is cooking.

Even better is cooking the quinoa in a similar way to a pilaf, frying onion, garlic, ginger and chilli with the spices first, stirring the grain through the oil for 30 seconds and then adding water or even stock.

For a salad, the quinoa can be dressed after it is cooked.

It’s one of those versatile things where you can make it Moroccan, Mexican, or Indian. It goes really well with cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon. Or Mediterranean flavours like feta, olive oil, lemon, parsley and mint.

Wondering where you can find Quinoa in India? You might not very easily get it in the market. But you can easily shop for Quinoa online in India!

Vedic Delite Quinoa 500Gms: 

– Protein Rich

– High in Dietary Fibre

– Cholesterol Free

  • Easy to digest

QUINOA UPMA RECIPE

Prep time: 10 Mins
Cook Time: 35 Min
Total Time: 45 Min

INGREDIENTS
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 tsp organic canola or safflower oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp urad dal (split black gram) or use mung dal (petite yellow lentils)
1 green chili chopped, remove seeds to adjust spice if needed
a generous pinch of asafeotida (hing) – optional (omit to make gluten-free or use certified gf asafetida)
10 curry leaves (fresh or frozen)
½ cup finely chopped red onion
2 Tbsp chopped cashews
½ inch ginger minced, 1 tsp grated
½ cup chopped carrots
½ cup peas, fresh or frozen (thawed)
½ to ¾ tsp salt
2 cups water
cilantro and lemon juice for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
1.Wash the quinoa several times, drain and keep aside.
2.In a medium skillet, add oil and heat at medium. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and urad dal and let them sputter or sizzle for 15 seconds.
3.Add chili, asafeotida and curry leaves and cook for half a minute.
4.Add onions and cashews and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until translucent.
5.Add ginger, carrots, and cook for 2 minutes.
6.Add quinoa and roast for 2 minutes with the veggies.
7.Add salt, water, peas, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Let the quinoa sit covered for 5 minutes. then uncover, fluff and serve. Garnish with cilantro and generous lemon juice. 8.Serve as a side, or as breakfast with hot masala chai.

NOTES
Make this with cooked quinoa:
Use 2.5 cups of cooked quinoa and add to the pan at step 7 with salt, peas and a splash of water. Mix well. Cover and cook for 2 minutes to heat up. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Add currants or other dried fruit along with cashews.

This is what the Quinoa Fields look like: