Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Alternative Grains: Quinoa, Amaranth, Millet, Polenta

Basic Cooking Techniques

QUINOA    (15 mins)
great to accompany white fish
Quinoa is delicious - nutty and light. I love this to accompany white fish. Boil gently in plain water for 15 minutes.

AMARANTH   (45 mins)
good with oily fish
Amaranth is a slightly more acquired taste - it is strong and earthy. I like this to accompany oily fish such as salmon or mackerel, with some curly kale on the side. Boil open for approx 25 minutes, maybe even more.You need to stir occasionally.  You can put a reasonable amount of water in at the start, as it will boil off - but remember all the water must be absorbed by the end, so towards the end you need to fuss a bit over it and stir more often. It will form an glutinous consistency. When it is cooked  you should let it rest for 15 minutes. This method of cooking amaranth is called amaranth porridge.
amaranth porridge

MILLET    (20 mins)
good with bangers - vegetarian or meat

Millet mash: Place in a medium-sized pan of water, and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 mins. Towards the end of cooking add 1/2 tsp of Bouillon vegetable stock powder. Stir.

Drain the millet, and add a lot of butter. This turns it from cardboardy to really delicious and similar to mash potato.

POLENTA    (3 mins)
I like this with fried mushrooms and steamed spinach

measure: per person - 50g polenta and 200ml water or if hungry 60g polenta and 240ml water.

The rule -  multiply the grain quantity by 4 to get the liquid quantity. Then add another slosh of  water for evaporation.

Put the liquid on to boil and add 1/2 knorr chicken stock pot per person. Stir in. When boiling, pour in polenta, and stir with wooden spoon fast. Keep stirring for about a minute to 'cook out' the starch. Serve.

N.B. This is the most basic way of cooking polenta - Once you have it cooked like this you can also let it set - then fry it or grill it for a more 'solid' form of polenta - or polenta fingers as they are often called.

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