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Let’s talk about Quinoa. How do you pronounce this strange word? Say ‘keenwah’, and you’ve got it just right. Quinoa is considered to be a superfood these days. It is fast becoming a very popular food choice among the health-conscious and among fitness fanatics.
While quinoa may be super healthy, there is no denying that it can be a bit of a pain to cook. Getting the consistency just right, and having to stand over the stove constantly, stirring it every few minutes as it cooks, is not for everyone. However, if you know how to cook quinoa in an Aroma rice cooker, all of that changes.
I got an Aroma rice cooker for my birthday a few years ago. The friend who gave it to me promised me that it would soon become my most-loved kitchen appliance. Initially, I was a little skeptical about this.
I mean, what can be so fantastic about some new-fangled gadget that just cooks rice? Well, I had a lot to learn! I soon discovered that the name rice cooker is really a misnomer. This nifty little number does so much more than merely cooking rice.
The Aroma rice cooker will cook your rice to perfection, with no horrible burnt pot to clean afterward. But that is only the beginning. This little wonder can be used for all sorts of other things.
Adore oatmeal for breakfast, but hate the nuisance of cooking it? Your Aroma rice cooker comes to the rescue, making perfect oatmeal.
Love lentils, but couldn’t be bothered to cook them? The aroma rice cooker does a brilliant job. Lentils can be really tricky to get just right, but in a rice cooker, they come out perfectly every time.
My Aroma rice cooker is fast becoming my all-time favorite kitchen appliance. I use it so often that I don’t even have a cupboard for it. It has pride of place on my kitchen counter, ready to be used anytime, literally at the flip of a switch.
My family loves quinoa. This superfood not only has many health benefits – yes, my lot are avid fitness fanatics who are very health conscious – but it also tastes delicious when cooked correctly.
When I give my family quinoa for breakfast, I know that I am helping them to start their day with a nourishing meal that will send them off with full tummies, and fuelled up with loads of energy for a busy day.
What Is Quinoa?
Quinoa is a grain that comes from a plant in the family called Amaranthaceae. This is a flowering plant that is cultivated for its seeds, which are edible. The grain that is known as Quinoa is extracted from the seeds of this plant.
Quinoa is a grain that is also known as a pseudo-cereal. This is because while it is actually a seed and not a cereal, it is prepared in such a way that it resembles a cereal.
What Food Group Does Quinoa Belong To?
Quinoa is both a carbohydrate and a protein. Amino acids are compounds that are essential for our bodies. There are 9 amino acids, the most essential ones, that join together to make up proteins. Quinoa contains all 9 of these essential amino acids, making it a whole protein.
In addition to its protein content, quinoa is also a carbohydrate. It is considered to be high in carbs but is a healthy source of carbohydrates. A bowl of quinoa in the morning will keep you full for a long time because the carbs will take a long time to digest and break down.
Quinoa does not contain any gluten, making it an ideal choice for those people who are gluten-intolerant or who are trying to follow a gluten-free diet.
Is Quinoa Good For You?
Quinoa has been around for thousands of years, originating in South America. But it is only in recent years that it has become very popular as a health food, and is now recognized as being a ‘superfood’.
A superfood is a food that is considered to be exceptionally healthy, due to its extremely dense nutrient content. Superfoods are recognized by health experts to be those foods that offer our bodies very high nutritional value while giving us the energy to keep us going for many hours. They are literally thought of as high-powered fuel for our bodies.
Quinoa has become so popular as a superfood that in 2013, it was given official recognition by the United Nations. Because Quinoa is making such a difference to the world in terms of providing affordable, high-quality nutrition to impoverished countries, 2013 was labeled “The International Year Of Quinoa” by the UN.
With such an endorsement, there can be no question that quinoa is not just good for you, but it has a great many health benefits.
Health Benefits Of Quinoa
If you are looking for food to fill you up well while, at the same time, offering you many health benefits, quinoa should be at the top of your list. Some of its many health benefits include:
- Quinoa is highly nutritious.
Quinoa contains almost all of our nutritional needs. When you cook quinoa in an Aroma rice cooker, you can eat a bowl of this superfood for breakfast, knowing that you are giving your body exactly what it needs to keep you fit and healthy and to give you all the energy that you need for a busy day.
- Full of fiber
Fiber is an essential component of our daily diet. It is a specific type of carbohydrate that helps to keep our blood glucose levels stable. Because it slows down the absorption of sugars in the body, it prevents you from getting hungry too soon after eating.
Fiber keeps the digestive system functioning normally, and helps to keep you regular. A daily dose of fiber will prevent constipation and the problems that go with it. Quinoa has high fiber content, giving you a large portion of your daily fiber requirement.
- Does not contain gluten
Many people are becoming more aware of the health benefits of following a gluten-free diet. There are also people who suffer from severe gluten intolerance or even a full gluten allergy.
When following a gluten-free diet, it is often difficult to find healthy foods that provide you with essential nutrients and keep the hunger at bay. Quinoa does not contain any gluten but has all the nutritional requirements that your body needs.
- Does not have a high glycemic index
The glycemic index in foods is directly related to blood sugar levels in your body. Foods with a high glycemic index will raise blood sugar very rapidly and will stimulate your appetite, making you feel hungry again soon after eating.
This is a major contributing factor to obesity, which is fast becoming a serious problem worldwide. It is also linked to associated health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
Quinoa has a low glycemic index, making it an excellent food choice for those who are conscious of the need to keep their blood sugar levels in check.
- Rich source of protein
Protein is one of the most important of all the food groups. It helps to build muscle and tissue and provides us with much-needed energy. Protein consists of amino acids.
Quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids, making it a power-packed source of protein. A daily helping of quinoa will give your body about 30% of your protein needs.
- Elevated antioxidant content
Antioxidants are well known for their powerful anti-aging properties. They are successful at combating free radicals and can help to protect us against many illnesses.
The high level of antioxidants in quinoa gives us all of these benefits. If you are starting to worry about those crow’s feet, or sagging skin, quinoa makes an excellent food choice for you.
- Contains significant amounts of necessary minerals
Our bodies need a minimum daily quantity of certain minerals, such as iron, potassium, and magnesium. These all play a role in contributing to our overall well-being.
Iron, particularly, is important for maintaining healthy levels of hemoglobin. An iron deficiency may cause you to become anemic, leaving you feeling fatigued and lacking in energy.
By including quinoa in your regular eating plan, you will provide your body with these essential minerals.
- Helps with weight control
If you, like so many people, are trying to manage your weight and avoid weight gain, or lose weight, quinoa is the best food for you. There are numerous factors that make it the ideal food choice for those on a weight loss program.
The high fiber content helps with appetite control, by making you feel full for longer, and therefore you will be less likely to overeat.
The protein in quinoa has an effect on your metabolism, speeding it up so that you burn calories faster. This will help you to manage your weight.
How To Cook Quinoa In An Aroma Rice Cooker
As I have already mentioned, my Aroma rice cooker is my favorite and most used appliance in my kitchen. But I love it so much that I don’t mind saying it over and over. Once you know how to cook quinoa in an Aroma rice cooker, you will want to cook it every day, and you will never again stand over a hot stove cooking your quinoa in a saucepan.
There are a few important things to remember.
What is the ratio of quinoa to water when cooking it in an Aroma rice cooker?
This is an important question. The secret to cooking your quinoa successfully in a rice cooker is to get the balance of quinoa to water just right. For every 1 cup of quinoa, you need 2 cups of water.
If you use too little water, your quinoa will be hard and grainy. On the other hand, if you use too much, it will be soggy and gooey and totally unappetizing.
An Aroma rice cooker has numerous settings. Which is the most suitable one for cooking quinoa?
This can be a little confusing at first because there is no setting for quinoa. However, with a little experimentation, and a touch of trial and error, I have established that the best setting for cooking quinoa is the White Rice setting.
This will give you perfectly cooked quinoa with a light and fluffy consistency.
Should you stir the quinoa during the cooking process?
When you cook quinoa in a saucepan on the stove, you have to stand over it and watch it carefully, stirring it frequently to prevent it from becoming lumpy and from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
If you don’t stir it every couple of minutes, you will land up with lumpy quinoa, and a burnt mess at the bottom of your pot that will take you ages to clean.
There is no need to stir the quinoa while it is cooking in the Aroma rice cooker. You can put the lid on, set the program, and walk away. The quinoa will cook itself and the Aroma rice cooker will do all the work.
Follow this step-by-step guide for perfect quinoa every time.
- Spray the inner pot of the rice cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
- Rinse the quinoa in a sieve under running water.
- Drain the quinoa well and place it in the rice cooker pot.
- Add 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt.
- Close the lid securely.
- Select the White Rice function and switch it on.
- When cooked, open the lid and stir lightly with a fork, to keep the quinoa light and fluffy.
- Remove from the rice cooker, and serve in individual bowls.
One cup of raw quinoa will yield about 3 cups of cooked quinoa. Once you know how to cook quinoa in an Aroma rice cooker, plan to have leftovers. You can store cooked quinoa in a sealed container in the fridge for 4 – 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 9 months.