We have recently experimented with Amaranth in our diets, in more ways than one.
Like quinoa, amaranth is an ancient grain that’s packed with protein. Its seeds are high in fiber, iron, and calcium. The plant’s spinach-like leaves are also edible too. When you cook it, don’t expect it to be fluffy like quinoa, it is a little more gelatinous. The earthy, slightly nutty flavor is delicious though, and here are some ways to prepare this fantastic grain – it can be roasted, popped, boiled, and added to other dishes so, here’s how we cook ours …
The basic cooking technique is the same for whole amaranth is similar to grain-like seeds (e.g., quinoa) – bring water to a boil, add the grain, simmer uncovered on low until the grain has reached the consistency you desire. For each part of whole amaranth, here is the proportion of water – porridge consistency, 3 parts water (some liquid will remain), soft texture but with distinct grains, 2 parts water, firm texture, 1 part water. Adding salt to the water at the start as adding salt at the last minute will provide a burst of salt on the tongue that is not always pleasant or desired. Adding it early will give it a nice consistent saltiness which is not too, in your face.
Ways to enjoy your Amaranth..
AS A SUBSTITUTE
We like to use it as a rice substitute – way more healthy and easier on the waistline. Use it to complement saltier food and to mop up dishes that have lots of sauce. Add, minced chicken, gojiberries, onions, mushrooms and baby corn to Amaranth. Perfecto.
AS A BREAKFAST CEREAL
Ratio of 1 1/2 cups liquid to 1/2 cup amaranth. Place amaranth and water or apple juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Add maqui berries, nuts, bananas and cinnamon. Super delish!
AS A SNACK
Toast a tablespoon of amaranth seeds a time in a hot, dry skillet. Continually shake or stir until the seeds pop. Note, you need to pre-heat the pan, and you need to use a low fire. If the fire is too hot, the Amaranth will just burn, it won’t pop. Eat them as a snack or use them to top soups, salads, and vegetable dishes. How incredibly healthy!
WITH OTHER GRAINS
When cooked with another grain, such as brown rice, amaranth doesn’t overwhelm with its sticky consistency but adds a nutty sweetness.
AS A THICKENING AGENT
Amaranth can be used to thicken soup. A couple of tablespoons added while the soup is cooking is usually sufficient.