Although quinoa is a seed, we call it a grain. I found quinoa to be one of the hardest grains to cook. From my experience, it was always mushy. Over time, I developed a technique that gave me perfect results. This technique might not be for everyone as it is fiddly. If you are not happy with your results, be willing to experiment. I found the extra effort worthwhile.
First I found the water and quinoa ratio crucial.
Second I found it important to use good quality cookware. A pot with a tight-fitting lid is important to prevent moisture from escaping.
Third I found it important to know how to control my heat source to a low simmer. Quinoa is a very fragile grain, I found prolonged fast boiling water would result in mushy quinoa.
- Bring 1 ¾ cups of water to full boil. Heat #7.
- Measure 1 cup of quinoa. Wash well and drain well.
- Add well drained quinoa to the boiling water.
- Bring water with quinoa back to boil. Cover pot with a tight fitting lid. Turn off stove element but leave the pot on the stove burner. Leave the lid on the pot. No peeking. You do not want any moisture or heat to escape. Set timer for 7 minutes.
- Turn burner back on, but this time set burner temperarture to 1 ½ and set timer for 2 minutes. This temperature is to give a little bit of heat without bringing quinoa to a boil.
- Again turn off the heat, leave pot on the stove element and leave the lid on the pot. Again, no peeking. Set timer for another 7 minutes.
- After the 7 minutes, you can check. The quinoa should be cooked. Gently, fluff the edges to see if the water has been absorbed and if the grains are done. I usually taste a few to be sure. If the quinoa is not done, cover the pot and repeat with another round of heat and a few more minutes of sitting time.
- Once the quinoa is tender, remove the pot from the burner. I find it best to leave the lid on and let sit for another 10 to 15 minutes. This will allow for the grain to set, and not be mushy. If you are planning to use the quinoa for a salad, allow the quinoa to cool overnight in the fridge.