Friday, February 09, 2007

Can quinoa be comfort food?

It was a cold, drizzly and dull day. The FAQ needed a little something comforting to nibble on while wrapped in sweats and looking to feel cozy until the sun came out.

How to get that sitting-by-a-fireplace-with-a-dog-at-your-feet feeling? Apple pie, chili, rice pudding? Ah, rice pudding, that's the ticket! OH YEAH, I'm allergic to rice. And allergic to the milk in pudding. Dang. What to do? I quickly dug through my files and found a recipe for Quinoa Pudding that used a lot of similar ingredients to rice pudding. It sounded sorta weird. I've always been a little suspicious of quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) looks kinda funny, the grains have these little white strings, the texture is similar to rice but more chewy than rice, and the flavor is a bit nutty. (Quinoa, in case you are unfamiliar with it, is an ancient grain that's high in protein, gluten-free, and apparently it's commonly used in Peru, which is where this recipe originated.)

You know what? It was DELICIOUS. Unusual, and yet familiar, the nuttiness of the grain was complimentary to the spices. It had a lovely texture, and was similar enough to rice pudding to be comforting and yet completely allergen-free! Yay! The top was crusty and carmelized, the pudding was mellow, and this recipe recommends a little swirl of honey on top to finish it off. Sweet. It was gonna be a good day.

Quinoa Pudding

1 cup quinoa (6 oz), picked over
4 c. water
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (I used almond milk)
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. plus 1 Tbs. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. fresh bread crumbs (I omitted this)
1/4 c. slivered almonds or coursely ground walnuts or a mixture
1/4 c. dried currants or raisins
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Accompaniment: honey or miel de chancaca (brown sugar syrup)

Wash quinoa in several changes of cold water in a bowl, rubbing grains between your palms, then drain well. (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, THE QUINOA IS BITTER AND MUST BE RINSED.) Bring quinoa and 4 c. water to boil in a large saucepan, then reduce and simmer, uncovered, until grains are translucent, 13-15 minutes. Drain well in a sieve.

Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl until just combined. Stir in quinoa, bread crumbs, nuts, and currants and pour into a buttered 9-inch square metal baking pan.

Stir together cinnamon and remaining tablespoon sugar and sprinkle over top of pudding. Bake in middle of oven until a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Drizzle with honey or syrup before serving.

* Available at Latino markets.

Makes 8 servings.
Gourmet/Lilian Zamorano
November 2002


Pammers said...

Kish..sounds scrummy! Can't wait to try it. Struggled with it in the test kitchen and really grew to detest it on many levels but then I saw the light. Quinoa is a pretty hip and happening grain.
Thanks again for making it so delightful!

Lors said...

wow, looks really good. i was searching for something and came across your glad i did...i already collected 4 different gfcf recipes i want to try....thanks!!!

i'll keep you posted.

Lorie Anne

Food Allergy Queen said...

Thanks Lori Ann, this recipe IS good, please try it and let me know how you like it! Also, please look for me on Facebook and join in the discussion groups!