Amaranth is not a true grain but it is related to the grain family because of its nutritional properties.
It is a tiny grain that has been growing for thousand of years in Mexico, Central and South Africa, Nepal and India.
Three species of Amaranth produce tiny edible seeds about the size of mustard seeds. Most amaranth sold are pale yellow, but the color can range from buff to dark purple.
The seed of amaranth is exceptionally rich in proteins, and particularly in lysine. This seed brings a protein of better qualities than the other seeds but also more iron (7.5 mg per 100 g of raw seed), of zinc (3 mg per 100 g of raw seed) and of calcium (153 mg per 100 g of raw seed). However amaranth is low in amino acid leucine, another amino acid needed for the body functioning, but leucine is found in excess in most common cereals grains.
It is also high in calcium, magnesium and iron. Among the grains only quinoa has more iron.
Forms of Amaranth
There is only one form of amaranth, which is the tiny grain.
Basic Cooking Instruction
The whole seeds when simmered produce a thick, gelatinous texture. To make amaranth more appetizing, cook a small proportion of it with another grain such as rice. In this case you can follow the cooking instruction for the predominant grain.
The seeds can also be baked or steamed.
The grains can be toasted; they pop and puff like popcorn.
They can be simmered in water for about 30 minutes and they can also be sprouted which are ideal for salads.
|Fibre||3 g||Main nutrients|
Millet and amaranth mushroom risotto
|1 chopped onion
250 g sliced mushroom
1 tablespoon oil
50 g amaranth
50 g millet
100 g brown rice
650 g smoked tofu
400 ml water
150 ml dry white wine
1 pinch coarsely ground black pepper
1 big bunch of fresh parsley
50 g grated Parmesan cheese
Using a large skillet, sauté onions and mushrooms in oil until onions are translucent and mushrooms tender.
Stir with wooden spoon until lightly brown, about 2 minutes.
Add the tofu and the water then bring to boil and simmer, covered, about 30 minutes until liquid is mostly absorbed and the grains are tender.
Stir in wine and pepper, and salt if desired
Remove from heat and let stand 5 more minutes, covered.
Before serving, stir in parsley and cheese.
Realized by Laurence LIVERNAIS-SAETTEL, dietitian
© Copyright L. Livernais-Saettel 2002
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