Quinoa: The versatility of ‘ancient grain’

Quinoa is an Andean plant which originated in the area surrounding Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia. Unlike actual grains which grow in grasses, quinoa plants grow edible seeds.

Published: 28th April 2018 03:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th April 2018 03:51 AM   |  A+A-

Quinoa is a great wheat-free alternative to starchy grains.

By Express News Service

At the tender age of 18 years, I was discovered as a model. Therefore, I moved to Sydney under contract and then spent most of my career travelling the world and working for high-end fashion labels. It was along the way I discovered love for food culture which I had never known. Exposure to so many different and exciting cuisines sparked my imagination and I began to feel heady with possibility.

I love travelling and my workshops and masterclasses across India give me the opportunity to marry my passion for food and love for travel.

I experiment with the ingredient quinoa all the time and I love it. I’ve experimented with salads, Indian dishes, even breakfast dishes. It’s extremely versatile. Quinoa is an Andean plant which originated in the area surrounding Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia. Unlike actual grains which grow in grasses, quinoa plants grow edible seeds.

Quinoa is a flowering plant from the amaranth family. It is a great wheat-free alternative to starchy grains. It is commonly known as an ‘ancient grain’, however, it is neither a grain nor cereal grain, but a seed, and does not contain gluten. Also, my favourite fact is that it’s high in protein which is perfect for vegetarians to get in that protein hit. After it is cooked and cooled down, this is great source of protein, carbohydrates and fibre to satisfy you for hours.

The taste and texture of quinoa is a bit like brown rice crossed with oatmeal. It’s fluffy, creamy, crunchy and somewhat nutty, all rolled into one. It’s versatile and can be prepared several ways. The main factor is to make sure you rinse the seed thoroughly to remove the outer bitterness and to make sure you don’t overcook it as it can become very mushy. It should still have a tiny bite to it but fluffy at the same time.
On my menu at Antares in Goa, I’ve added a quinoa salad with a grilled salmon with a beurre blanc sauce and on my menu at The Wine Rack in Mumbai, I’ve added a quinoa edamame biryani with avocado raita.
– Chef Sarah Todd

The MasterChef Australia 2014 finalist is conducting Kitchen Masterclass/Workshop at Script Store, Indiranagar tomorrow, 12 noon.

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