Taiwan’s indigenous quinoa, Djulis or Hongli 紅藜

Decide to write a piece on this amazing food, since I have been in love with quinoa since 2013. The year 2013 was the year of quinoa designated by the United Nation.

We were the first to introduce this ingredient at Nonzero and collaborated with Peruvian officials to promote this ingredient. We even flown in a Peruvian chef for a month long Peruvian food promotion. So you can imagine my utter delight to find that Taiwan has its’ own indigenous variety, called Djulis in indigenous Taiwan language. In Chinese it is called Hongli (紅藜).

Taiwan quinoa from my garden, as floral arrangement.

This native crop has been eaten by Taiwanese aboriginal people for hundreds of years, who also use it to brew a traditional type of wine. The main agriculture area for this crop is in Taitung, where I live. Let me take you to see what the plant looks like and how they are grown, harvest and processed.

Djulis (Chenopodium formosanum) belongs to the Amaranthaceae family of green vegetables and pseudo-cereals, along with its close botanical relative of quinoa. Djulis is known for having a high protein and fiber content, as well as for containing eight kinds of essential amino acids. (This is all the information I could find in English, and there is a bit more info available in Chinese).

礦物質含量方面,含鈣特別豐富,高達2,523 ppm,為稻米的42倍,燕麥的23倍;鐵質與鋅的含量也很高,分為地瓜的11倍與8倍。

Here’s a BBC report on Djulis. http://www.bbc.com/news/av/business-38312876/taiwan-s-surprising-superfood-an-indigenous-quinoa

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