Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Pleased to meet you, Quinoa: quinoa and mango puddings

During the last couple of months I've been coming across various bloggers singing praises to quinoa [keen-wa], the ancient grain* from the Andes mountains of South America. Quinoa was part of the holy nutrious trinity (the other two being corn and potatoes) of the Inca civilisation, and it has recently caught the attention of health-concious foodies. It is gluten-free and has a very high protein content. More importantly, the protein in quinoa has an amino-acid profile fitting the high 'ideal protein' standards set by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN, as well as other stuff that's good for us.

Couple of months ago I finally picked up a packet of organic quinoa from my local health food store, and last weekend I finally got around to cooking with it! My first quinoa recipe is from Ilva of the delightful Lucullian Delights. And - considering that I really enjoyed the slightly nutty taste and mild texture of quinoa (as did my three guinea pigs) - this is just the first appearance of my new friend, Quinoa, in my kitchen and on this blog.

Quinoa & mango creams
Source: Ilva of Lucullian Delights (slightly adapted, as I couldn't find lemon balm)
Serves 4-6

1 ripe and sweet mango (I used one of those super-fragrant Pakistani mangoes that have arrived in the shops in Scotland)
100 ml pre-cooked quinoa
300 ml water
3 Tbsp honey
6 Tbsp Maizena cornflour/cornstarch
a generous squeeze of lemon juice

If you need to cook the quinoa, then take 1 part quinoa seeds and 2 parts of cold water. Rinse quinoa thoroughly, and put into a saucepan with water. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or so.
For the cream, pureé the mango flesh, then mix with water and honey and cooked quinoa in a saucepan. Bring slowly to the boil.
Mix cornflour with some cold water until you've got a runny paste, then stir this into the mango and quinoa mixture. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, until the cream thickens.
Season with lemon juice and pour into 4-6 dessert glasses. Cool before serving.

Thank you again, Ilva!

* Quinoa is actually not a grain, but a pseudocereal, yet in culinary terms you can treat it like any other grain.

Other wonderful dishes inspired by Ilva:
New potatoes and smoked bacon with fresh bay leaves (May 2006)
Spicy cauliflower with tomatoes (November 2005)


Orchidea said...

Very interesting recipe... I want to try it. I tried Quinoa some years ago in Perù and I liked.

Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of quinoa myself! Lovely! My parents who are just back from Peru ate it at every meal!

Anonymous said...

I love grains, I've never tasted quinoa but the chances are high that I would like it a lot. I especially like the look of your recipe, I think it would be a really great breakfast!!

Ilva said...

I'm really happy that you like it, both quinoa and my recipe! I feel really honoured, Tack Pille!

Anonymous said...

Tesco on samuti quinoad müüma hakanud.

Clivia said...

oh, that looks so good! So far I have only tried quinoa the savoury way but I have seen quite a few recipes for cakes and desserts. Mango is my favourite fruit so maybe this will be my first try-out. Good luck with your quinoa testing! It is so versatile - only your imagination sets limits... My best shot so far is quinoa and chickpeas patties with coriander.

amyjames said...

That looks interesting - I agree it would make a tasty breakfast, and healthy too.

I find it has a fascinating texture, although not one that is to everyones taste. I've only cooked with it in a savoury fashion, but I did sample a chocolate cream pie with a quinoa cheesecake style base at a cafe in York . . .

Anonymous said...

Just been advised that I'm gluten intolerant so have had to change my diet away from wheat, barley and rye. Sad? Not a chance. I've discovered quinoa and now encourage others to try this delicious, light, and nutritious food. JB

Evelin said...

ostsin endale just mõnda aega tagasi paisutatud kinoad. avastasin väga mõnusa eestipärase hommikusöögi: kinoapallid, maisestamata jogurt, kama, veidi suhkrut. aga ülejäänud müra kinoa ümber ootab veel katsetamist.

Pille said...

Orchidea - it was definitely a good first attempt, and I'll be cooking quinoa again soon. If I'm ever in South America again, I'll look up some local dishes!

Bea - sounds like I must go to Peru!? Have just got another wedding invitation for 2006, but to Colombia. Not sure they eat quinoa there - I must ask my friends..

Pamela - give quinoa a go - it's lovely!

Ilva - your recipes are wonderful! Your avocado-filled tomatoes are next on my list.

Anonüümne - kui praegune pakk otsa saab, siis vaatan Tescost:) Mis Sa ise kinoaga teed?

Clivia - I'll try quinoa in a savoury way soon - and you should try Ilva's mango quinoa cream:)

Amyjames - thanks! That quinoa cheesecake sounds intriguing - especially as I love cheesecakes!

Anonymous - I was thinking about my few celiac friends when using quinoa, too - must be nice to be able to eat something grain-like.

Evelin - paisutatud kinoad pole ise veel proovinud, aga hoian kauplustes silmad lahti. Aga katsetada kindlasti tasub. Endal järgmisena plaanis mõnda kinoasalatit teha, eri blogidest nii mõnigi retsept kõrva taha pandud. Ja teretulemast!

Cathy Wang said...

Can you let me know where you bought quinoa? In Tallinn? I had just moved to Tallinn and I have been trying to find it in stores!

Thank you in advance

Pille said...

Hi Cathy - welcome to Tallinn! You can find quinoa (kinoa in Estonian) in most organic shops (try "Maa" or "And" shop at Viru Keskus), as well as Stockmann food hall. Alternatively, check the organic food aisle in an ordinary supermarket - I'm pretty sure that I've seen them at Co-Market. Other good food shops to try are Piprapood close to Stockmann, and NOP in Kadriorg..