Cooking Ancient Grains with Helen Chen

Quinoa made in Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen Perfect Rice Cooker. This salad also contains edamame, kernel  corn, black beans, red bell pepper, Vidalia onion and chives.

Quinoa made in Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Perfect Rice Cooker. This salad also contains edamame, kernel corn, black beans, red bell pepper, Vidalia onion and chives.

Article Contributed by Nicole Herman, of HIC, With Helen Chen

Our friend Helen Chen, widely acknowledged authority in Asian cooking, teacher, and cookbook author, is an expert at making perfect rice of many varietals. She has even designed a beautiful porcelain rice cooking vessel with Harold Import Co. so we can all achieve her perfect rice in our own kitchens. We’ve had some lively discussions about the growing popularity of ancient grains on both restaurant menus and in home cooked meals, and Helen offered to show us jut how easy it is to use her Perfect Rice Cooker to cook the grain quinoa. (One tool, many uses. We like this.)

Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen Perfect Rice Cooker used to make Quinoa

Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Perfect Rice Cooker used to make Quinoa

How to cook ancient grains with Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen®  Perfect Rice Cooker:

Made of high-fired white porcelain, the Perfect Rice Cooker is the ideal vessel for cooking not only all varieties of rice (jasmine, sushi, brown rice and even sweet rice) but it also cooks other grains such as barley and quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), the ancient grain from the Andean region of South America. (Recipes to make both are included with the Perfect Rice Cooker.) Helen recently returned from Peru and the area around Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire where quinoa is a major crop.

Grain Fields in Peru, Taken by Helen During her Trip

Grain Fields in Peru, Taken by Helen During her Trip

This gluten-free grain is enjoyed for its mild nutty taste and valued for its high nutritional value.  It’s an excellent source of complete protein, containing all eight amino acids, making it a perfect substitute for meat.  Cooked quinoa is very versatile and can be mixed with vegetables and seasonings, made into delicious salads or added to enrich soups.  It’s so easy and foolproof to cook quinoa in the Perfect Rice Cooker.

Quinoa made in Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen Perfect Rice Cooker

Quinoa made in Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Perfect Rice Cooker

All you need:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Yield:  About 3 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

1. Wash and rinse the quinoa thoroughly in cold water and drain in a fine meshed colander or strainer.  This is to remove quinoa’s natural coating of saponins which can lead to a soapy or bitter taste.  Transfer the quinoa to the bowl of the rice cooker and add water.  Be sure all the grains are submerged.

Quinoa Submerged in Water in Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen Perfect Rice Cooker

Quinoa Submerged in Water in Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen Perfect Rice Cooker

2.  Place the uncovered rice cooker in a stock pot with enough water to reach about 2 inches up the side of the rice cooker.  Lower the bamboo handle so it’s level with the rim of the rice cooker.  Cover the stock pot and bring the water to a boil.  When the water is boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a slow boil and steam for about 20 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and white spiral-like threads appear around each grain.  Turn off the heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving.  Fluff with a rice paddle or fork and serve hot or cold in your favorite recipe.

Finished Cooked Quinoa

Finished Cooked Quinoa

Biography of Helen Chen

Helen Chen

Helen Chen

HIC, Harold Import Co. is proud to call Helen Chen a partner in Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® made by HIC Harold Import Co.

Helen Chen is a leading Asian culinary expert, cookbook author, cooking instructor and developer of Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® cookware and cooking supplies.  Helen learned to cook from her mother and has combined the comfort of home-style dishes with an updated incorporation of heart-healthy oils and readily available supermarket ingredients—making cooking great Asian food easier for everyone.

Helen Chen’s unique line of Asian cooking supplies was developed through many years of culinary experience and provides the kind of high-quality standards that you can expect from HIC, Harold Import Co. Some of the products available in the Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen®innovative line of Asian cooking utensils include steaming accessories, cutlery, cookware, tea & sake, tabletop, utensils and housewares.

*Not affiliated with Joyce Chen products

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