eat your quinoa
I first read about quinoa in Gluten-Free Girl's blog. Curious about this interesting grain, i never really thought i'd get to try it in Singapore, so it got filed away at the back of my head in the "things i will try when i get a chance" folder. It is rather abit easier to file things away if all you see are photographs and written descriptions.
The next time i met quinoa was in class. A classmate took out her salad lunch in a plastic bowl. When opened, it had this curious slightly herby nutty smell. From a salad? being the food crazy girl i am, i decided to ask her what was in her salad. And she was like.."you know quinoa?" i got quite excited and asked her where she got it, but she said she didn't know. So i figured that was the end of the Search for Quinoa part II although the scent of it added on to my mental description of it.
Search for Quinoa Part III lasted all of five seconds. Was browsing the miniature organic food section of Clementi NTUC (was not on the specific lookout for quinoa, just browsing for interesting stuff) when i saw a clear plastic bag labelled 'organic quinoa' sitting between 'organic brown rice' and 'organic rolled oats'. My friend never really understood why i was suddenly euphoric. At $6.50 for a 500 gram pack, quinoa is a rather pricey carbohydrate form for a struggling uni student. But then where's my spirit of learning?? What the heck i figured and took the plunge.
The first thing i did when i got back was surf the net to find out how to cook the precious stuff. Two and a half things for sure, you have to wash it properly (coz its coated with some very bitter tasting naturally occurring chemical to prevent birds from eating it), and cook it like rice, and it tastes better with a pinch of salt. Easy enough for the "i-do-not-own-a-rice-cooker-because-its-easy-enough-on-the-stove" school of cooking i'm at.
I can't remember how exactly i ate my first batch of quinoa, but i remember burning the second batch, and turning the third into porridge. Very typical of me. But now, i've more or less gotten the hang of cooking the stuff so it turns into the wonderful fluffy chewy nutty herby grain it is. Wonderful texture, great flavour. Paired with refreshing salad greens, sweet broccoli, some ham or cooked chicken if you have some, and apple slices, it makes the most delightful lunch on a hot day.
Today i felt like i would have some for lunch, but did not have many salady things, all i had was some baby romaine, and broccoli (is it just me or is broccoli an awfully expensive vegetable these days? at $6 a kilo and being able to put away a third of that at every meal sitting can be quite heavy on the pocket no? but its so lovely. sigh. less shopping more eating i suppose) I didn't even have any ham or sausage or salty thing like that to team it up with. Eggs would have to do, but look how lovely they turned out.
I have a secret to add on. I could not think of a dressing i wanted on this salad. It was going to be rather bland, with no ham, and people who know me know how i try to avoid dressing because i prefer tasting the sweet or bitter flavours without all that masking, and some days balsamic and oil just does not appeal. Usually some ham would sort out the balance in flavours. Today i went totally local (i'm not sure how local is local. i only know that it's found all over the region, i.e. Singapore and Malaysia, often enough.)
I will definitely write about this "add-on" soon, because my friends and i are rather obsessed with it, and its been seeing mealtimes with us rather often. In fact its so good, that the only reason why i am not yet posting about it is simply because i destroyed it before i had a chance to remember my camera. Meanwhile, just to leave a hint, i need to open my door and window to air the fumes out from the room.