If you follow the cooking instructions scribed across the box or bag of quinoa, then chances are you're doing it wrong. Though nutty, toothsome, and all-around lovely when steamed properly, cooked quinoa can often fall short, resulting in a mushy, mealy, or even unpalatably bitter mess. Avoid these problems with a few easy steps.
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, thoroughly rinse the quinoa. Most quinoa sold is "prerinsed" but could use some extra help to ensure that all of the naturally occurring, bitter, soapy-tasting coating present on all unprocessed quinoa is washed away. Add the uncooked quinoa to a fine mesh strainer, and rinse it under cool water until all the kernels are dampened.
- Add the rinsed quinoa to the boiling water and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the quinoa is just barely al dente. Strain it using a fine-mesh strainer.
- Add an inch of water to the quinoa pot, set the fine-mesh strainer (with the cooked quinoa still in it) inside the pot; make sure the quinoa doesn't touch the water. Cover with a dish towel and the pot's lid, turn the heat up to high, and steam for 3-5 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and no longer waterlogged.
- Turn the quinoa out into a bowl, fluff it up with a fork, and use as desired in any recipe.