I am perhaps problematically fearless in my kitchen. When encountered with almost any type of food, I basically know how to cook it, and I'm not afraid to experiment (jelly chicken, sigh). This tendency has resulted in some awesome triumphs, as well as some shudder-worthy failures (soup biscuits), but it generally serves me well.
So a little while ago, I bought a bag of quinoa (I realize you've probably heard of it all over the internet before). I must admit to having something of a food crush and/or fundamental amazement when it comes to quinoa. It's one of those foods that I will always order, request as a side-dish at my parents' house, and muse about, usually at great length. I mean, how can a superfood be so enjoyable to eat?!
Until this evening, I was vaguely aware that quinoa could be prepared in a rice cooker, but I didn't really have the specifics. I had my mom's really good stovetop recipe, but nowhere near the patience or inclination to stand by the stove stirring. 30 seconds of Googling suggested treating it just like rice in the rice cooker, and that was enough for me. I combined my idea to cook it with a mirepoix with this method, and my oh my, it was perfect!
Rice Cooker Quinoa with Mirepoix
- 1.5 cups red quinoa
- 1-2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into about 1/8" pennies
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 bunch scallions / green onions, sliced
- 2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- salt, pepper, herbs to taste
- Slice the scallions, carrots, and celery into thin slices. You should have roughly even proportions of each on your cutting board. Toss all of those into the rice cooker, along with the garlic.
- If quinoa is not pre-rinsed, rinse it for a few minutes. Then toss it into the rice cooker with the vegetables.
- Add vegetable broth and water, and give everything a good stir. Unlike rice, it's good to stir the quinoa occasionally to ensure it doesn't stick to the rice cooker or burn. You can use all vegetable broth or all water, but keep the ratio of fluid to grain about 2:1.
- Turn rice cooker on, wander off and do whatever you want. Check on it once or twice and stir. The quinoa is done when it's fluffy, tender to the teeth, and the cool spirally casings have popped off the grains. Mine took about 45 min.
That's it! It's really as easy as throwing everything in the rice cooker and stirring once or twice. It came out exactly how I wanted it, and it was spectacularly delicious. The vegetables were supple and soft and imparted their flavors to the broth, the quinoa was nutty and fluffy - I couldn't be happier.
You can of course get fancier and make a proper mirepoix in place of vegetable broth, but I wanted something basically effortless. You can eat it as a side (goes delightfully with chicken), or as its own meal because it's super high in protein (superfood, hello?). Perfect in the summer, and I imagine it will be even better on one of those cold autumn or winter nights when I want something earthy and substantive that isn't macaroni and cheese.
If you have suggestions or tips, I would of course welcome them. And if you make it this way, enjoy!