Rinse the dry quinoa. If you want to soak/sprout it beforehand, then you can follow the notes written above, in the post. However, regardless of what method you choose, you will need to rinse the seeds, unless the packaging has specifically stated that they have been pre-rinsed.*
To rinse, transfer the quinoa to a fine-mesh sieve and rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. This is usually between 30-40 seconds.
Add the oil and quinoa to a saucepan and lightly saute for a few minutes, until it smells toasted and begins to make popping noises.
Add the water (or stock), and salt or flavorings of your choice and bring to a boil.
When boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Simmer for around 15 minutes (for white quinoa, more like 20 for darker quinoa)**, or until the water has almost all been absorbed and the quinoa is near tender.
Remove from the heat and keep covered with the lid, allowing it to steam for a further five minutes. I usually place a layer of teatowel between the lid and pot at this point. This will catch the steam so that it doesn't gather on the lid and then drip back down onto the quinoa. The result is perfectly cooked, fluffy quinoa!
To Store: Allow it to cool to room temperature, then store quinoa in the fridge, in airtight containers, for between 4-5 days. You can also freeze it for up to three months. Simply allow the frozen quinoa to thaw in the fridge and then eat cold or re-heat, as needed.
* Even then, I'll usually rinse them for my own peace of mind. This is because the seeds have a bitter outer layer called a 'saponin' coating. Rinsing will get rid of this layer, whilst also making the grains less likely to get 'clumpy'/stodgy in the pan. ** The time will vary depending on how much you are making. For smaller amounts, and soaked grains then this may take 10 minutes. For larger quantities, this will be closer to 20.
You can add a lot of flavor if you toast the quinoa. All you need is a few minutes (3-4) to saute the seeds in a pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until fragrant and toasty, and then add the water and continue to cook.
When seasoning, you can choose to stick to the classic salt & pepper or go for additional options, such as fresh herbs, using vegetable stock instead of water, garlic, and more.
Soaking The Seeds: Rinsing and pre-soaking the seeds overnight not only reduces the phytic acid content but also reduces the cooking time too. Depending on how long you soak it for, your cook time can be reduced to just ten minutes!
Sprouting The Seeds: Taking it one step further than soaking is to sprout the seeds. Sprouting quinoa will help reduce the effects of phytic acid, making the minerals more bioavailable, and increasing the antioxidant levels within too.To sprout the seeds, you can follow the method I use when Growing Wheatgrass at home. It's super simple and requires only a jar, a layer of cheesecloth/mesh, and a rubber band.