Over the weekend, I cooked the kaniwa (pronounced kan-yi-wa) that I wrote about last week. I found kaniwa in the bulk section at Whole Foods, but it can also be ordered online from a handful of specialty food companies.
The easiest way to describe kaniwa is by calling it a mini-quinoa. (The two are from the same genus.) But it's really mini, so measuring it can get a little messy. However, unlike quinoa, kaniwa contains little or no saponins (waxy coatings), so it doesn't have to be rinsed.
I used the same water to grain ratio (2:1) for kaniwa that I do for quinoa. Stirring occasionally, I brought it to a boil, lowered it to a simmer and let it cook (uncovered) for about 15 minutes until 95 percent of the water was absorbed. I let it sit for another five minutes to finish cooking.
The texture of the kaniwa was a little crunchier than quinoa. It had quinoa's nutty aroma and taste, but not as strong. Being so small, the kaniwa can get stuck in your teeth (think poppy seeds).
The kaniwa is a little lacking when eaten plain, so I added some chickpeas, sautéed red pepper, chives, olive oil, lemon juice, unrefined sea salt and fresh ground pepper. It made for a great side dish, but kaniwa's huge protein content (16 percent) can allow it to be part of a well-rounded vegetarian meal.
While I'll work kaniwa into my cooking rotation, I'll probably continue to favor quinoa.