Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Getting the Most out of Your Rice Cooker: Quinoa

One thing (out of many) that Costa Rica got right?  Rice cookers.  They are awesome.  Everyone should own one.  Here, rice is a staple and a part of just about every single mean.  Seriously, if you are eating macaroni and cheese, you're also eating rice (and probably beans too).  I love rice cookers for a number of reasons, but I digress.

Did you know you could make quinoa in your rice cooker?  Hell yeah you can!  Just another reason "rice cooker" may overtake "garlic crusher" in my Favorite Kitchen Gadget list.  Oscar has been begging me to make quinoa ever since we bought a package from WalMart.  I was looking up recipes online and then just decided that quinoa is like couscous.  You cook it, then put whatever the hell you want in and eat it warm or cold.  Pretty flexible little guy.

You cook quinoa exactly as you cook rice.  You pour in quinoa, pour in water, press "cook" and 10 minutes later you got you a tasty pseudograin.  But I've learned a couple tricks from my tica mama that make quinoa/rice much tastier.

These are my normal ingredients for making quinoa (or rice).  I use half a pepper, a small onion, one cube of chicken stock, olive oil (not pictured), salt, garlic powder and quinoa (rice).  I think my mom will disown me if she sees I've converted to garlic powder instead of the actual real deal.  But the truth is it's so much easier and my hands don't reek for days afterwards.  Plus it dissolves nicely in the water and gives a great flavor.  I still use garlic cloves for stir fry and the likes.

Put some olive oil at the bottom of your rice cooker and turn it on "COOK".  Chop up your onion, pepper, and garlic and throw it in.  (Because I was making quinoa, I just put in the onion.)  Cook your veggies until the onions turn transparent.

Pour in quinoa, water and then all your spices.  A pinch or two of salt, a good helping of garlic powder, and your cube of chicken stock (make sure to crumble it).  Stir to mix.  Put the lid on and wait for your delicious food!

Here's the finished quinoa.  I'm going to let it cool and then I think I'm going to add black beans (cooking in the crock pot as I type) and mango.  I had 4 mangoes and cut them all up just now.  I think that if you have never eaten a mango from Costa Rica in Costa Rica, then you have never truly lived.  These things are the nectar of the gods.


 I try to refrain from eating all of them, and just nibble on the skins and pits.  You can see what's left behind.

Anyways, the moral of the story is rice cookers are great.  Go get yourself one today!