Cooking Fluffy Quinoa

For years, actually all my cooking life, I have followed the cooking directions on the packaging of rice.  Quinoa is not rice, but the directions on the package are pretty much the same; "Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add grain, cover, simmer til liquid is absorbed..."

The problem I've ALWAYS lived with is inconsistency in the outcome.  Sometimes the grain gets stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Sometimes the grain is tender on the bottom, but the top grains still need time. Sometimes the grains need more liquid.  Sometimes is sticky.  And every once in a while, it comes out perfect.  Every once in a while.

Well, the time of living with inconsistency is over for me.  Hallabulooya!  A few months back, I was rummaging through cookbooks in a local antique shop.  I love old cookbooks. It's a weakness of mine. Anyhoo.  I found a copy of James Beard's Theory & Practice of Good Cooking, © 1977.  In the first section, he goes in depth about Boiling.  I took his instructions on cooking old-fashioned boiled rice and used it to cook quinoa.  IT WORKED PERFECTLY.

After I got the hang of cooking grains in a pot of rolling, boiling water, I started experimenting with seasoning the water.  I've figured out that a little oil, onion powder, garlic powder and dried parsley are secret ingredients to making quinoa savory and hard to stop eating.  Getting it fluffy every time is no longer a gamble. It's the way it is.


Bring 4 quarts of water and 2 teaspoons of salt to at rapid boil in a 6- to 8-quart pot.  Throw in 1-cup, or up to 2 1/2-cups of quinoa (however much you need for your recipe).  Keep a rapid rolling boil on the rice for 12 minutes, uncovered, then drain through a sieve.  Do not overcook.

This will give you fluffy quinoa, slightly firm to the bite.