I've been having some trouble cooking quinoa. I know that it needs to be cooked for long enough so that just the spirals are left, but the quinoa can often dry out quickly and stick to the pan when cooked for this length of time. Not cooking the quinoa for long enough can leave you with a slightly stodgy quinoa. So my question is how can I cook quinoa for long enough, without it drying and sticking to the pan? Do I need to just add a bit more water than the instructions state (2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa) as it dries out? Do I add a little oil?
Quinoa is cooked much like rice- in fact it can be cooked nicely in a rice cooker.
The 2/1 ratio is correct. As with rice, the goal is to steam the grain. You should be cooking on low heat after it boils and is covered and you shouldn't be frequently opening the pot while it cooks.
I haven't had success adding water later in the cooking. It doesn't get a chance to turn to steam and instead just boils the grain to mush.
As with rice, some of the quinoa might stick to the pan, especially if it was cooked a little too hot or with uneven heating. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. With rice and quinoa I like the crispy bits.
Adding oil late in the cooking probably won't help you achieve the desired fluffiness.
Getting the best results often means choosing the right pan. Quinoa to no more than 2inches/5cm depth dry with room to double.
Good heavy base that will hold heat, also makes a big difference: can turn off pot for last 2min of cooking (or when water is nearly gone) with a towel under lid. No drips making grain soggy.
If you must stir to check whether water is gone or sticking, try a chopstick or other slender tool -gently- that will not mash this very tender grain.