Quinoa is eaten as a grain, though is actually a relative of spinach and chard; it is the seed of the plant. It has a nutty taste and slightly crunchy texture. It is high in protein, a good source of fiber and rich in manganese, magnesium and iron. Quinoa seeds are coated with bitter saponins, which need to be removed prior to cooking, as they not only taste bad, but are also bad for digestion. Most commercial quinoa is sold with the saponin removed, but the seeds can also be placed in a fine mesh strainer and rinsed under cold water to remove it.
Quinoa domestication is believed to have occured around Lake Titicaca, where the seeds of Chenopodium quinua have been a part of the diet since around 3,000 B.C.

Use a 1 to 2 quinoa to water ratio: boil 1 cup water (and 1/4 tsp salt, optional) and add rinsed quinoa. Reduce heat to low and simmer 12-15 minutes until liquid is absorbed. You will notice little strands appear on the grains.


Other names: "The Mother Grain"
Translations: キノア, الكينوا, Куиноа, 쿠이노아, 불에 익한, קינואה, Kvinoa, Лобода, 藜, Лебеда

Physical Description

Dried Quinoa grains are tiny roundish grains slightly smaller than a sesame seed. Dried, they are hard and crunchy.
When cooked the quinoa grain appears soft and translucent and the germ ring will be visible along the outside edge of the grain. The visible germ ring will look like a white curlicue.
When cooked, the quinoa will be soft, but have a tiny crunch of texture to it.

Colors: Dark cream to medium golden; red

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Nutty
Mouthfeel: Earthy, Grainy, Nutty
Food complements: Chicken, Chicken stock, Olives, Feta, Mushrooms, Ginger, Peppers
Wine complements: Cabernet sauvignon, Old vine zinfandel, Chardonnay
Beverage complements: Sparkling cider
Substitutes: Amaranth is a family related seed with a lot of nutrition values, Couscous could be used although it's a grain and not a seed.

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Peak: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: Dried quinoa is readily available.
Buying: Available at most grocers and Trader Joes.
Procuring: The leaves are lobed or toothed and often triangular in shape. The succulent like plant grows from 4 to 6 feet high and has many angular branches. The flower heads are branched and when in seed looks much like millet, with large clusters of seeds at the end of a stalk. The plant will grow in a variety of conditions but favors a cool, arid climate and higher elevations.

Preparation and Use

Cook as you would rice- 2 parts liquid to 1 part grain. Season to taste.
You can substitute stock for water.

Cleaning: Always rinse dried quinoa before using to remove bitter outer coating

Conserving and Storing

Store in a cool dry place in an airtight container.


Ancient Incas called it the "mother grain" and was therefore considered sacred. Each planting time of the year, the Inca leader plants the first quinoa seed using a golden shovel as part of their tradition.

History: The Inca's called quinoa, "the Mother Grain". It was a sacred staple in their culture. It has been cultivated for more than 5000 years.



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anusha's picture

where can i get the quinoa grains in hyderabad please send me the address