El Inca Llora (a song about Peru)
Denise's Recipe for Quinua Soup
Quinua ('Kinuwa') is a staple food of the Quechuas in the highlands
of Peru. It grows at high altitude and, although it looks like a grain,
it is actually a type of fruit. Quinua is high in protein (16 to 20 percent)
and is high in cystine, lysine and methionine - amino acids that tend to be
low in other grains. It also contains good levels of calcium, iron, and
phosphorus, B vitamins and vitamin E.
What follows is my wife, Denise's, recipe for Quinua Soup. It is simple but
delicious. Now, Denise is a bioengineer and very precise when she is measuring
the density of materials used to make replacement body parts. But cooking is
her down-time antithesis to that, so when I asked her about measurement amounts, she
gave me answers in "about a fist", or "about half a finger", or "when it looks
about right". Be prepared to enjoy the variety of taste results that depend
on the size of your fist.
This is basic soup, so the preparation time depends on how fast you chop the
ingredients. The idle time is the time it takes it all to boil, which is
about 15 minutes. Allow a half hour or so.
Note that when you cook quinua as a cereal, your ratio of water to quinua is about
two to one. However, for soup it should be more like 4 to one or 3 to one if you want
the soup to be "thick".
about a half a head of garlic
a fist of chopped onions
a fist of chopped tomatoes
a fist of chopped celery
a fist of chopped cilantro
a fist of carrots (diced or chopped)
a fist of chopped potatoes
one cup quinua
alphabet and/or star noodles
6-8 cups water or your favorite stock
Quinua must be rinsed thoroughly before it is consumed. Rinse it as you
would rice, by filling a container of quinua with water, swishing it around
and pouring out the water. Repeat this process 5 or 6 times until the
water mixed with the quinua is clear and no longer shows cloudiness.
Chop up the garlic, onions, tomatoes, celery, cilantro, carrots and potatoes.
In a big soup pot, saute the garlic, onions, tomatoes, celery and cilantro in olive oil.
Add 6-8 cups of liquid (water or stock) - depending on how "soupy" you want the results - choose the amount of liquid as a 3 or 4 to 1 ratio of liquid to quinua.
When the water starts to boil add the potatoes, quinua, noodles and bayleaf.
Allow to boil for about 15 minutes, or until the quinua "pops" (quinua will change from a
grain-like, bird-seed appearance to little soft, white rings).