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Superfoods Peru Quinoa
Photograph: Trade Commission of Peru

Food Ticket: eat your way to Peru with quinoa

Quinoa is a native crop to the highlands of Peru that has taken the world by storm

Time Out Hong Kong in partnership with Trade Commission of Peru

Quinoa has been an important part of the Inca diet for thousands of years. A few decades ago, not many people would have recognised this ancient crop from the Andes - remember the days when we didn’t know how to pronounce quinoa? It wasn’t long before this tiny guy swept natural food aficionados off their feet with its high fibre and protein content. Fast forward 20 years, quinoa has made its way from the shelves of boutique grocers into the aisles of major retailers globally. 

RECOMMENDED: Eat your way to Peru with chia

Photograph: Sam

Often referred to as the mother of grains, quinoa is not a grain, but one of six pseudo grains or pseudocereals - true cereal grains are grasses while pseudograins are the seeds of plants. Though botanically different, pseudocereals are treated like cereal grains because of their similar makeup and nutrition content. 

You’ll commonly find white, red, and black quinoa. There are slight differences between the colours like cook time, flavour, and texture. White quinoa – which is the most common – cooks the quickest, is milder in flavour and softer in texture.  

Photograph: Ella Olsson

Quinoa is a complete protein, and one of the only plant based foods that provide all nine of the essential amino acids that the human body requires.

It is the perfect gluten-free replacement for other grains, and can be used in a multitude of ways including granola, stuffing, breads and pasta, fried quinoa rice, quinoa porridge or pudding, quinoa salad, quinoa veggie patties, soups – the possibilities are honestly endless. It’s also a common ingredient in packaged food and even skincare products. 

It’s a great alternative to rice if you’re looking to switch things up like in ChullsChick’s fresh seafood quinoa paella. You can choose to soak your quinoa ahead of time (anywhere from 2 to 24 hours) to help remove the naturally occurring phytic acid, this will make it easier to digest as well as speed up the cooking time. Click here to learn more about this super grain and the benefits of superfoods. Pick up Peruvian quinoa at your neighbourhood health food store or online at The StoreParknShop, and The German Store.

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