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Quinoa, the Sacred Grain of Incas, in Bolivian Food Recipes

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Quinoa has been a pillar in Bolivian diets for generations and has had a recent boom in Bolivian food recipes. It is a crop similar to grains and produces an edible seed. In Bolivia, quinoa has been grown in the Andes Mountains range for over 4000 years.  The Incas called quinoa sacred and the mother of all grains.

Quinoa is appreciated for its nutritional value and is high in protein, fiber, essential amino acids, calcium and iron. Compared to common cereals, it is more nutritional. Due to the cool climate in the area at around 3,000-4,000 meters above sea level, quinoa is able to grow.

Quinoa can generally be cooked similar to rice and used in a wide range of dishes. When cooked, it has a light and fluffy texture. It has a mild and nutty flavor. Bolivian food recipes use quinoa in many ways. It can be sprouted in water for a few hours and then mixed in with salads and cold bean salads. It is mixed in with tamales or corn humintas and cooked in Bolivian soups and stews. For breakfast dishes, it can be mixed with milk and nuts. Quinoa is also gluten free so it is used ground as an alternative to flour such as in dumplings or in breads.

In the Quinoa Dumplings recipe, the flour is mixed with warm water and salt to form a dough that can either be steamed or baked.

In the Quinoa Salad recipe, the quinoa is simmered in water then drained and added to tomatoes, peppers and onions and topped with olives and feta cheese.

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