Back to Basic: How to Cook Quinoa

I promise myself that I would keep this post short and sweet, short enough that it takes exactly the same amount of time reading this post as per making a bowl of tasty quinoa. I was asked by my patient recently about ‘healthy diet’ and what would be my recommendation for healthy homemade meals. Generally when someone ( not a patient!) asks me any cooking or recipe related questions, my mind would immediately jump to the blog, but this time I also realised that I could not really reveal to them that I have a food blog (ahem!) as simple, healthy diet that we have at home is hardly featured in the blog!

This brings me straight to quinoa, our almost staple that keeps shining through our meals. Morning porridge, lazy sunday pancakes, after-work stews or simply on its own, quinoa is a favourite in our home. It’s popularity is burgeoning over the years, yet when I suggested quinoa for a quick midweek meals to friends or families, I am still being given the puzzled looks. Hopefully this post is a helpful tip on how to cook quinoa and some recipe ideas to get you started.

What is quinoa?
Quinoa, promounced as ‘kin-wah’ is a grain, originally from Soutrh America/ Ecuador regions. It is somewhat like a pseudocereal with high content of protein, calcium, magnesium, phsopohorus and iron; hence great for those with lactose intolerant, gluten- intolerant and is highly recommended for vegans.
How do I cook quinoa?
Quinoa can be cooked exactly like how you cook the white rice, in ratio of 1 cup quinoa: 2 cups water.
  • Using a rice cooker, just add 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water ( optionally a pinch of salt as well) and once cooked, fluff up with a fork
  • Using a simple boiling technique, boil 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups of water in a heavy bottomed pan, on low heat. Cover with lid and cook until the water is fully absorbed and fluff up with a fork.

But it tastes bitter!
Quinoa can be bitter if not rinsed properly prior to cooking. Quinoa should be rinsed at least few times to reduce the bitterness. Alternatively add a tsp of lemon juice with water when cooking the quinoa.

Recipe ideas using quinoa
  • Use cooked quinoa as an alternative to rice or couscous
  •  Quinoa is a great alternative to oatmeal, and can be prepared as porridge. Cook quinoa with milk and top up with fruits.
  • Great add-on for pancakes. For an easy pancake recipe, try out this one, and replace 1 cup of flour in the original recipe with 1 cup of cooked quinoa.
  • Try put this chicken and green lentil recipe-replacing the brown rice with quinoa in the same ratio
Stay tuned for quinoa stew recipe, coming up soon…:-)


  1. says

    hi dr jehanne, confessing to you that i have never tried eating quinoa before- let alone buy it.. but your post on the health part of it as well, it’s easy cooking preparation tempts me to try.
    like a happy discovery, thanks dear. have a great week.

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