26.2.08

i did not know that.

















So back in August 2007 when I had my High Noon-type showdown with myself, my hours of internet research turned up lots of helpful articles touting the benefits of "orange vegetables". Wuh, like carrots 'n' shit?

Yeah, like carrots 'n' shit. Even the USDA is on board with this development, so it must really be OLD NEWS. Their weekly recommendations for "Food Groups to Encourage" suggests the following:

Dark green vegetables 3 cups/week
Orange vegetables 2 cups/week
Legumes (dry beans) 3 cups/week
Starchy vegetables 3 cups/week
Other vegetables 6 ½ cups/week

That is a lot of vegetables that I was not eating. We're doing a little better these days in the green vegetable department now that I'm using a couple of foolproof recipes for green beans, broccoli, and sugar snap peas. But we could still do better, so, I am hereby again re-reannouncing my commitment to orange vegetables. And all other vegetables.

But here's an interesting thing. One of the first recipes I made after my first recommitment was Quinoa with Curried Yogurt, in an attempt to get an orange fruit (papaya) into my system. And though the recipe resulted in a Magical Flavor Combo Discovery on my part (papaya and Javanese sambal), this recipe really really really made our stomachs hurt.

Pourquoi? We've eaten tons of quinoa before, but then come to think of it, it does seem like we never really prepared it the same way twice in terms of soaking, rinsing, etc. In fact, even now if forced to make quinoa at this very moment, I would have to ask Mara how to do it and she would probably not remember either.

So, anyway, the answer is, yes I erred. When did this become common knowledge:

The saponins in quinoa can be mildly toxic, as can be the oxalic acid in the leaves of all the chenopodium family. The first step in preparing quinoa is to remove the saponins, a process that requires soaking the grain in water for a few hours, then changing the water and resoaking again, or rinsing it in ample running water either in a fine strainer or in cheesecloth. (Source: Wikipedia)

I'm familiar with oxalic acid via my experiences with pomtajer/malanga and callaloo...I think rhubarb has the same problem as well, but I really had no idea about quinoa. So, this is good news: we've had a bag of quinoa that's been sitting around untouched because we've been scared of it. Although the papaya salad is more of a summery recipe, I'll post it here for future reference and imminent honing.

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quinoa and papaya salad (under construction).

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp Surinamese mango chutney (very different from Patak's or other brands of commercial Indian chutney)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tbsp garam masala
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp walnut oil
1 or 2 cups uncooked quinoa, depending on the quinoa to other stuff ratio desired
1 cup papaya or mango, cubed
1/2 red bell pepper, diced fine
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, crushed lightly
some fresh green chile, minced, maybe even a whole one
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint or cilantro

Whisk together yogurt, lime juice, curry powder, ginger, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add oil, whisking til combined.

PROPERLY RINSE AND COOK QUINOA.

Toss quinoa with curried yogurt and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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2 comments:

Abra said...

I eat quinoa several times a week and I have never, never, never soaked it! Just a quick rinse, a sauté in a little oil, then add the liquid. I wonder if some people are allergic to quinoa?

MEM said...

I know, it's weird. I really can't believe that we're both suddenly allergic to quinoa, though, you know? We'd eaten it successfully probably 75 times before that. I can't remember if this was a different brand than the one we used to use or not. I'm going to try it again soon and we'll see what happens.