Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.), is a plant that originated in South America. The Seeds of the Quinoa plant can be used in the same way as grain, even though it is not a true grain. The Incas gave the plant a religious status. They called it the ‘mother of all grains’ and every year the Inca Emperor would use a golden spade to plant the first quinoa seedling. Quinoa is gluten-free.
As far back as the Incas, whole quinoa seeds were boiled in water just like rice. The grains absorb a lot of water which results in a dish similar to risotto or rice. The grains can also be added whole to soups and stocks. Roasted seeds can be consumed, mixed with milk and honey for instance. The seeds can also be fermented. This produces the South American drink called ‘chicha’. Fermented Quinoa Seeds can be mixed with fruit juice or milk.