quinoa has come to be highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest.
i usually eat it as part of a salad with chopped tomatoes, cucumber and spring onion and lots of fresh herbs like coriander, mint and basil. add to this some fresh lemon juice, soya sauce and salt and pepper and i have a salad that i can eat with anything or just eat on its own. however, i have wanted to experiment with it in a sweet dish and of course the natural choice is a cupcake.
i searched on the internet and thought i would try something already tested for my first go. so i followed a recipe i found on the blog, Cupcake Project. the recipe was pretty straightforward and i didn't really alter much - just used regular flour instead of rice flour, mainly because i didn't have rice flour and wasn't fussed about making these gluten-free. i liked the idea of including stewed apples in the middle of each cupcake. a cooked in filling sure beats the time it takes to cut out cones, fill and then ice. the recipe called for cooked quinoa which i proceeded to do using the rice cooker. quinoa is really simple to cook and you just use the ratio of 1:2 that's 1 cup of uncooked quinoa to 2 cups of water.
so what was the result...hmmm, i'm a little undecided on this one. i can't say that it ranks up there with my favourites. the taste is interesting...the quinoa adds a real texture to the cupcake that i guess i'm just not used to. the stewed apples were barely tastable and this was disappointing - if i make these again i would definitely make more stewed apples and have a bigger spoon of it in each cupcake. i did find the cake texture quite dry and definitely think the suggestion on the recipe to perhaps add the stewed apples straight into the batter a good idea. it might just add that little bit more moisture to the finished result. i definitely think i will experiment again with cooked quinoa but next time i might try it in a chocolate cupcake...i could never give up so easily on such a nutritionally powerful little seed and ways to include it in my diet. these however would definitely start your day off with a serious blast of protein and a huge sugar rush. i used the recipe for the icing also given called penuche icing which was made with brown sugar...but again i cannot say that i am a big fan. i found it very sweet and might have preferred a cream cheese of even a vanilla buttercream. however, it is good to experiment and explore new flavours and so i look forward to more explorations with the wondrous quinoa.