Kaniwa is a small, grain-like food from the Andes Mountains in Peru. It is a new product to the United States but is expected to appeal to consumers of nutrient-rich foods like quinoa, teff, and amaranth. Like quinoa, teff, and amaranth, kaniwa is technically a seed that we cook and enjoy like a grain. An advantage of kaniwa over its more popular cousin quinoa is that it does not have saponins, a component that requires rinsing the quinoa well before it is cooked. Kaniwa is much smaller than quinoa, however, and may be better used adding to recipes rather than eating like a porridge.
Kaniwa is available at several online retailers and currently the trusted online vendor Amazon.com has good prices on this item. As with any grain, the more kaniwa you buy, the more you save. At Amazon you can buy kaniwa in 1-lb, 10-lb, and 25-lb quantities with shipping included, the price point is as low as $2 per pound to buy kaniwa online — a great bargain for a nutrient-rich food.
Kaniwa is new to the United States and a full nutritional profile is not available from the USDA nutrient database. However, we expect it to be as nutrient-rich as quinoa (a close relation) and teff and amaranth. All of these “pseudo-grains” have in common one key characteristic: they are so small that they are nearly entirely bran.
You have probably heard how healthy “bran” is — it is high in fiber and in nutrition. It is the healthy part of the grain that is removed when white flour is produced. Kaniwa is nearly all bran but it is also intact and does not face the risk of going rancid like a wheat bran product does.
Basic Kaniwa Porridge: Kaniwa does not contain saponins as does quinoa and, therefore, does not need to be rinsed off thoroughly before cooking. Simply cook one cup of kaniwa with two cups of water for a serving of about two cups of cooked kaniwa. Cook a kaniwa porridge as you would any grain: a slow simmer on the stove top stirring occasionally so that it does not burn. Just like quinoa, it will sprout little tails in the cooking process and give the slight look of a sprout.
Serve the kaniwa with butter and a sweetener such as maple syrup or Rapadura