Quinoa, the grain of the Incas, has been cultivated in the Andean highlands of South America for over 7000 years, yet it is a relative newcomer on the international market. Quinoa comes from the Quechua language spoken by the Incas and many indigenous in South America. With the European conquest of the indigenous, the cultivation of quinoa was suppressed possibly because it had a religious significance for the Incas. It was called golden seed and considered sacred. When Nasa introduced quinoa in the astronauts diet the world rediscovered it. Today we know it has a high nutritional value, with all the essential amino acids we need, plus minerals and vitamins. Quinoa is a seed grain known for its delicate nutty flavor and crunchy texture. Quick cooking, it holds well, and blends nicely with a wide variety of ingredients.
I made it for New Year’s dinner with shrimp and it was wonderful! I just cooked the quinoa (1 cup) with the shrimp broth (2 and 1/2 cups), then added some herbs (cilantro and shives) and served with sautéed shrimps, covered with a lemongrass and coconut sauce!