Meet quinoa, the delicious and easy-to-prepare superfood that should be in your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
More Versatile Than Carbs "We use quinoa in quite a lot of ways," says Chef Ryan Clift of Tippling Club. "One is to braise it in celery juice and sherry vinegar, and then it gets sauteed. Or we let it cool and dry out slightly in the fridge, and then fry it with a little bit of olive oil and a pinch of spice and cinnamon. You can add a lot of flavour to quinoa. And once it puffs up, you get a really nice crunch that can be added to a salad.
Move Over, White Rice You'll find quinoa in the pasta and rice sections of most supermarkets. Technically, it's a seed, not a grain. But you can use the gluten-free filler anywhere you'd use rice - like a staple. "Compared to other grains," reveals Chef Pang Kok Keong of restaurant chain Antoinette, "quinoa is more neutral in taste and absorbs the sweetness of other ingredients easily, making it very versatile. When cooked properly, it adds a crunchy texture to the dish."
A Health Food "I strongly recommend quinoa," says consultant oncologist Robert Thomas, author of Lifestyle After Cancer, who recently visited Singapore to present a groundbreaking "Pomi-T" study showing how superfoods fight prostate cancer. "Quinoa's a good source of plant protein, which strengthens your bones. It is low in fat and has got lots of polyphenols. In fact, I have it at least three times a week." Diets rich in polyphenols - the natural plant-based phytochemicals found in healthy foods - have been linked with lower risks of chronic illnesses, including dementia and heart disease.
Easy To Prepare It also cooks up fairly quickly, notes Chef Pang, who serves a refreshing salad of quinoa, rocket leaves, watermelon, roasted butternut squash and feta cheese at all three Antoinette outlets. Make sure to rinse it well first, advises Chef Ryan. "Flick the grains through your fingers and keep going until the water runs clear," he says. To cook, boil two cups of water for every cup of grain, and then simmer the quinoa on low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, till it's just cooked.
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