Chenopodium pallidicaule, known as qañiwa, qañawa or qañawi (Quechua, hispanicised spellings cañihua, canihua, cañahua, cañahui, also kaniwa, kañiwa) is a species of goosefoot, similar in character and uses to the closely related quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa).
Qañiwa has important beneficial characteristics including tolerance of high mountain conditions, high protein content, high antioxidant capacity and phenolic content and a lack of the saponins which complicate quinoa use.
Qañiwa is an indigenous pseudocereal food of the high Andes. The domestication of qañiwa as a commercial human food crop is not complete. For instance, more uniform ripening would improve the economics of commercial qañiwa production.
The indigenous Andean food crops, quinoa, kiwicha (Amaranthus caudatus) and qañiwa, are good sources of calcium and iron, phenolic compounds and kaniwa of dietary fibre. Their calcium, zinc and iron content is higher than that of more widely commercialised cereals.
Roasting does not significantly affect the dialysability of nutritionally valuable minerals in qañiwa. Boiling, however, was found to increase zinc, iron and calcium dialysability.
Cultivated in the Andes, kañiwa is a close relative of quinoa and has a similar nutty flavour without any of the bitterness. Though tinier and less fluffy than quinoa, it has a pleasant crunch and makes a satisfying grain alternative. It’s also higher in protein and packed with fibre, iron, calcium, and zinc.
Kañiwa is quick to cook on the stove top (about 20 minutes) and can be used like quinoa in dishes for both breakfast and dinner.