Friday, September 24, 2010

Cañahua: Quinoa's Cousin

A new grain! For me at least.

On the left is the dry grain toasted in a skillet (on low for about 20 minutes), then simmered for about 20 minutes. It reminds me of quinoa, but crunchy. Love the toasted flavor. (The red color is not from toasting; it's how it cooks up, which was surprising given the color of the raw grain.)

It made a great side dish with onions, carrots, and minced (cooked) kale. I may try it in a cold salad, something like Autumn's fabulous Quinoa Tabbouleh.

Cañahua Facts:1, 2
  • Indigenous to the harsh plains of Peru and Bolivia (potatoes also originated in the high Andes)
  • Grows well at high altitudes
  • Resistant to frost, drought, salty soil and pests
  • Seeds are tiny, about 1 millimeter diameter
  • Seeds lack bitter-tasting saponin coat of quinoa
  • Gluten-free, can be consumed by those sensitive to wheat, rye, barley, oats
  • Less starchy (lower in carbs) than the rice and noodles which are replacing it in local cuisine
  • High in protein (higher than quinoa), protein is complete which is unusual for a grain (includes lysine and methionine), amino acid composition similar to milk protein (casein), traditionally used for weaning
  • High in fiber
  • Low in fat (half the fat of quinoa)
  • High in magnesium, calcium, iron, and other minerals
Cañahua is also used to make a hot chocolate-type drink sold on the streets of Puno and Cuzco, and a type of beer (Ronald?) or chicha.

I hope ... the more people who hear about cañahua, and try it, and like it, and buy it, the less risk there will be of losing it to the black hole of modern industrialized food production.
1 Cañahua Deserves To Come Back
2 Andean Nutrition, Exchange, and Ritual, Joseph W. Bastien


melissa said...

I've had the chicha made with this. It's really the perhap alcoholic drink for me because it's like 2-3%, so it's fun to drink, but not wasting.

Bix said...

I'd love to try it. It seems it wouldn't be as malty or sweet? I'd like that.

Autumn Hoverter, MS, RD said...

Did you order it online or is there a store that sells it?

BTW, thanks for the props :)

Bix said...

I ordered it from Gold Mine. I was already placing an order and threw that in to take advantage of the shipping charge. I've never seen it in a store. Maybe we can change that :)

Anonymous said...

Ijust bought some at 'Whole Foods' in Vancouver BC

Crystal said...

Just found this at Anita's Organic Mill in Chilliwack! Very excited to try it out :o)

Karen said...

Love your webpage! I found canahua at Berkeley Bowl West, and am having it for breakfast. Do you know how to prepare the chocolate drink?

Anonymous said...

Just bought some at WholeFoods on Cambie in Vancouver. Very excited to try out in our new vegan diet.

Ant said...

Hello Karen, You beat me to it! I'm just fixing some cereal of it. Also found at the Bowl. I'm interested in the chocolate too.