Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mexican Style Quinoa (Keen-wah) or 2013, The Year of Quinoa

Mexican Style Quinoa
Quinoa (keen-wah) was on my table the other night. That and cauliflower salad. I was satisfied with both but my husband wondered where the rest of the meal was. You know-the protein? I tried to explain that quinoa had plenty of protein for his dinner and I had added chicken to it, too. But you can’t take a man away from his protein. Especially those that need to be sliced.

Quinoa is a seed. A very healthy seed. It has been on the radar screen for years but the last few years it is finally getting its due. It is considered a complete protein with 6g per cup, has lots of fiber, some calcium and lots of iron. It can be prepared like rice and makes a great cereal, too. Prices are dropping as it becomes more popular. I encourage you to give it a  try at least as an alternative to other starches in your diet such as rice, potatoes, or pasta.

Little did I know until I started looking up facts for this post that the United Nations has declared 2013 the year of quinoa. Not that I put much stock in the UN but I think they made a good choice here. And at least they took a stand on something. Quinoa was considered by the Incas to be the mother of grains and was considered sacred. When the Spanish and Portuguese colonists came over they stopped the Incas from growing quinoa and introduced wheat. At the same time they introduced the spice cumin and that is how cumin became popular in Mexican food. (I had always wondered how it travelled from the Mediterranean.) Leave it to the colonists!

I served my husband what I will call a Mexican style quinoa. It can be eaten warm or cold and is simple and quick to prepare. Feel free to serve it as a side dish and leave out the chicken. Next time I will just plop that breast right on top, front and center, and I know I will hear no complaints. He liked it. He just missed using his utensils. Poor baby!

Mexican Quinoa

1 c quinoa
2 c chicken or vegetable broth
1 smashed clove of garlic
½ of a red pepper diced
½ of a can of green chilies or Hatch chilies
½ an onion diced
½ an avocado cubed
2 T cilantro
½ t cumin or more to taste
1-2 chipotles packed in adobo chopped
1 grilled chicken breast sliced and cubed (I used leftovers from my Banh Mi)

Bring chicken or vegetable broth to which the garlic clove has been added to a boil. Add quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until seeds are translucent and have spiraled out. This takes about 15-20 minutes. Liquid should be absorbed but if it isn’t and the quinoa is done then just drain your quinoa.

Now- stir in the rest of your ingredients. You may or may not need salt. That is it. 

From Banh Mi's to Mexican style quinoa-yes-This is how I cook!

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  1. Quinoa is good stuff. And I had no idea this was the year of quinoa! Glad you included some cumin in this dish, given its history and all. ;-) Really tasty stuff. And I'm fine with my chicken mixed in.

  2. Amazing, huh? I'll remember that-about the chicken anyway!

  3. I love Quinoa.

  4. Like the added avocado, super healthy meal.

  5. Thanks Meirav, and I agree Natalie. The avocado really makes it!