Mother of all grains, by guest blogger Karen Chien

Quinoa, mother of all grains is truly one of the best grains you can stock in your pantry. Considered a super food by the UN, it’s so important that back in the days, the Inca emperor would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season (according to wikipedia).

So why is quinoa so cool, so super? Unlike other grains, quinoa is very high in protein. It is gluten free, contains fiber and also other nutrition such as magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin E, phosphorus, and even folate for the expecting ladies. Perfect for anyone, but especially vegetarians or partial vegetarians.

I actually found out about it after reading that NASA was considering quinoa as a crop to grow in space, or I’m guessing when we start terraforming someday. I figured, any crop that is good for NASA must be good for me! Anyhow, if you want to find out more, just google it.

The only place I’ve found so far that carries quinoa is Trader Joes, in a small orange box. As someone who is used to buying rice 20lb at a time, hopefully it starts to show up in bigger boxes.

Cooking quinoa is rather easy, similar to making rice in the pot or in a rice cooker, add 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. Simmer until dry, fluff and serve.

To me, quinoa is quite bland by itself so I usually use it as a side dish but my mom mixes it with regular rice and I’ve seen recipes where it’s used as part of the main dish or in soup. The texture is a bit similar to couscous, but …fluffier…

So next time you’re in Trader Joes or other imported/health food markets, look for quinoa and give it a try!

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