by Comrade Black
I only began eating quinoa about a year ago, but since I started I have quickly learned to love it and been constantly surprised that many others don’t! “I tried liking it” or “it’s rather bland” are common replies I hear from people when I ask if they like quinoa, some are even more crass making statements like “you actually like that stuff???” Yet whenever I make quinoa for one of these folks the response I get is quite different “wow, that’s good, how you make it taste like that?”
Truth is, cooking quinoa and making it taste awesome is really fucking easy. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah for those who are new to it) is super quick to cook, and super healthy, a super food loaded with great nutrients and a complete protein. So making it part of your diet can help make being healthier a hell of a lot less work. And don’t worry, for the poor folks out there quinoa doesn’t have to cost a lot if you follow the advice Emma Goldman once offered to a group of poor workers “Ask for work. If they don’t give you work, ask for bread. If they do not give you work or bread, then take bread.” In other words what I am suggesting is that if you can’t afford good food, don’t eat shit, just take what you need. Big corporations steal from the workers on all levels, then fuck over the consumer (also generally a worker) by overpricing, so don’t feel bad about taking what you need. The simplest way is to buy from the bulk section and mark it down as something similar looking like bulgur wheat or couscous or whatever. Look for the teller in training, or if they have those electronic self serve tellers use those. Even if the teller notices, most will not say anything as they are not paid enough to care.
So here is how I cook it to make it taste awesome.
The most basic method is to cook it kinda like past or rice. I start by pouring some quinoa into a mesh tea strainer, then rinse it under the tap until the water runs through easy. I then throw it in the pot on medium heat and let it fry for a few seconds before adding water. I just add water like I would to pasta, and I am not the type to measure.
At this point I ad bouillon, I use about half a cube. Many of the basic soup bouillons happen to be vegan, even the ones that are chicken or beef flavored, just check the ingredients.
Next I add some black pepper, and if I have any ground garlic, I toss it in too. That is really all there is to it… Sometimes I also like to throw in some dried stinging nettles, which you can either get from a tea shop or you can just go outside and pick some and dry them. Fresh nettles work fine as well as long as you cook them for at least 8 minutes. The nettles are optional, I tend to like how the grassy flavor of the nettles compliments the grainy taste of quinoa and pepper. Cook it until the water is out, and I tend to turn down the heat to ¼ when it begins to get close. When the water is gone, fluff it with a fork.
This is the most basic way I cook it, it only takes about 15 minutes, and this type of quinoa is perfect for putting on a wrap with other veggies, or to eat alone.
I also like to sometimes add canned beans in tomato sauce to the quinoa right when it is just about cooked. Another similar addition is to mix in frozen mixed veggies (like the mixed peas, carrots and corn bag they always seem to give you at the food bank) when the quinoa is nearly cooked.
One of my personal favorite dishes to make witch is very easy and tastes great using quinoa uses quinoa with wild rice and lentils.
I begin by pouring wild rice into a pot, add lots of water (more than you would for other rice). Heat should be on medium. I add the soup bouillon cube at this point, then take off and do something else for a while, wild rice takes a while to cook so it is good to go do laundry or check email or plan an arson (JUST KIDDING ;) ) while it cooks. After about 20 minutes, I add quinoa, I like using red quinoa with this variation if I have it, but any kind is great. I also add lentils at this point. It will take about another 15 minutes after this, so I add some pepper, or garlic, then go off to play video games or write a letter to a prisoner, or whatever. Again I cook it until the water is gone, then it is done. Simple.
I generally like it as is, but if you want you can always add a bit of soya sauce or other stuff to your taste.