Sunday, July 15, 2007

Top Secret Super Food: Quinoa
I first read about 'quinoa' from Men's Health magazine (Malaysian edition), June 2007 issue (this is a really fantastic mag, people. I recommend you grab a copy and check it out yourself). Pronounced as 'KEEN-WAH', it's a tiny looking grain-like thingy. I was quite fascinated by this 'quinoa' as it was reported to be packed with essential minerals, protein, amino acid and fibre. Quinoa sounded like some really healthy food you know, nutritious and really versatile. The article even includes some simple recipes using quinoa. Wow, I thought. I wonder if I can find this healthy food in Malaysia or not. It would be good to give it a try, and see for myself the real deal.

I even spoke to kNy about quinoa, and he said he too read about it and was just as curious about it as I was. So we figured the best place to look for quinoa was probably in organic shops. Hubby and I do buy some organic food stuff once a while, but we've never really seen the stores stock quinoa. Maybe there's no market for it here, we thought.

But this weekend, we got lucky. We were browsing in Giant, Kelana Jaya, and there was this small section for organic food where the can foods are located. We saje keypoh a bit there, just to see what sort of organic products are on the shelves these days (it's amazing what's gone organic these days, hahaha!). And behold, I saw quinoa! "Dear, look! It's quinoa! Remember this from Men's Health?" I exclaimed. Hubby took a look and said "Oh yeah! Shall we give it a try?"

Organic quinoa

The small pack of quinoa wasn't cheap by the way. The 500g pack (the only size available) cost RM 10.69. But we thought since quinoa is said to be a very healthy & versatile type of food, it's ok to invest in it, just to try it out. When we got back home, I quickly whipped out the magazine and flipped to the article to see the many ways of using it.

Quinoa is really easy to cook, it's just like cooking pasta. Just boil a pot of water, then pour in any amount of quinoa and cook until tender (about 20mins). I was quite fascinated by quinoa... the appearance, the texture (so sampat hor?). After the quinoa is cooked, drain it and let it cool. Quinoa's got this slightly crunchy texture, and it's not sweet like rice (no sugar mar). You can add quinoa to your cereal breakfast, or add some lean chicken meat with vege, or even add it to your salad. So cool, right?

Cooked quinoa. Looks like rice, only rounder, crunchier and with a tiny ring-like texture. And healthier too!

According to Men's Health, quinoa is a good substitute for rice and potatoes, both of which are starchy food (carbs). It's ok to have a moderate amount of carb in our diet, but too much of it isn't good. Some people exercise excessively, but end up over eating. Some people eat very healthily, but don't exercise at all because maybe they think eating healthily is enough. The best advice is to have everything moderately and exercise regularly :)