Monday, June 18, 2012

Slacker Gourmet Basics: Easy Starch Cooking

Hate waiting for pasta water to boil? Don't have a rice cooker? Too hot to use the stove? Living in a dorm room? Never fear, there are still some easy and foolproof starches that you can make using just your microwave.

Rice: this isn't really a recipe, per se, but both Birds Eye and Trader Joe's make frozen, steam-in-the-bag rice. I think it comes out nearly as good as rice made by traditional methods, and way, way better than instant rice. Without a rice cooker, I'd choose the frozen rice over attempting to make it on the stove.

Couscous: all you need to do is boil water: 5 parts water to 3 parts couscous. Put couscous in a heatproof bowl with a good pinch of salt. Boil your water in the microwave, and pour over couscous. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes, then fluff couscous with a fork.

Quinoa: Rinse quinoa for a couple of minutes under running water (most quinoa comes pre-rinsed, but it can't hurt). Combine 1 part quinoa, 2 parts water and a good pinch of salt in a microwave-safe container. Cover loosely and microwave on high for 8 minutes. Let sit for 10-15 minutes (longer is better - more water will be absorbed), then stir gently and microwave it for another 2 minutes. Quinoa is done when the seeds are translucent, and the little white spiral-like germ is separating from the seeds. If there is still water left in the bowl, drain it.

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