The easiest way to cook quinoa is to add 2 cups of water or stock to 1 cup of quinoa, bring to a boil in a saucepan, cover the top and simmer for 15 minutes. Quinoa, pronounced "keen-wah," is often mistaken for a grain but is actually a grain seed. A distaste for this seed can come from improper cooking methods, including not boiling long enough or not rinsing the seed, which can make it taste too earthy or bitter.
Rinsing quinoa is one of the most important steps to cooking good tasting quinoa. The seed contains a protective covering called saponin that will give the seed a bitter, earthy taste if left on during the cooking process. If the quinoa is used in a salad or mixed with other foods, it can change the taste of the whole dish. Rinsing the quinoa is as simple as putting in a sieve and running cold water over it to remove the casing.
Quinoa can be toasted before boiling to enhance the flavor. Toast it by adding it to hot oil in a pan and sauteing it until it browns, and then proceed with the normal boiling process. Once boiled, thoroughly drain the quinoa so that it doesn't saturate a dish with excess water. Quinoa works well hot or cold, and it is ideal as a side dish or in a cold salad.