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What Bracha do you make on Quinoa?

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BalabustaInDaKitch, welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks for the interesting question! We'd love to have you as a fully-registered member, which you can accomplish by clicking "register," above. –  Shalom Dec 29 '10 at 17:46
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up vote 12 down vote accepted

While in the culinary world it's treated sortof like a grain, it's neither the five grains recognized by the Talmud (wheat barley spelt oat* rye), nor the two semi-grains (rice and millet); so to the best of my knowledge, you'd treat it just like beets (quinoa's closest edible cousin) or peas or any other vegetable: ha'adama as it grows from the ground (and is annual, not perennial).

If you ground it or pureed it to the point where it didn't look like anything but a mush, it would then be shehakol (no different than if you pureed peas). But if you sit down to eat a plate of cooked quinoa, just ha'adama before (and borei nefashot afterwards).

I know when I've done this, my brain has gone, "Huh? It looks like rice? Really, no mezonot?!" But that's the halacha!


'*' Disclaimer: oats are generally understood to be in the Talmud's list, but some scholars question if that's an accurate translation of the Talmud's term. Here I'm going with the standard practice, to include oats.

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Though it's interesting to note that some rishonim put grain-like substances like corn into the mezonos category, as it is significantly "zain" –  YDK Dec 29 '10 at 18:51
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@YDK yes thanks it's interesting, but it's not normative halachic practices today. –  Shalom Dec 29 '10 at 19:17
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@YDK they wouldn't have written about corn as we know it today; maize didn't arrive in Europe until post-1492 (arguably post-Rishonim). –  Shalom Dec 29 '10 at 19:18
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Should that '*' point to something like "*oats may not be the grain referred to by the term shiboles shu'al according to archaeo-botanists like Felix"? –  WAF Dec 29 '10 at 21:06
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@Seth- My comment to Shalom doesn't relate the halachik status of quinoa on Pesach. Kitnios is just a catch-all phrase used by the Tur to cover products that have high satiation value, but are not part of the Big-5. –  YDK Dec 30 '10 at 4:33
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There is a lengthy and extremely detailed shu"t (responsum) by the Chief Rabbi - HaRav Mordecai Eliyahu on this issue that reviews the history of quinoa and concludes as Shalom notes - that it is borei peri ha'adama.

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Can you cite/link it? –  WAF Aug 15 '11 at 19:53
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