I know, dear readers, that you likely have a cozy relationship with quinoa. But what’s your status with it’s itty bitty cousin, amaranth?
Like quinoa, amaranth is technically a seed, not a grain (specifically classified as a “pseudocerreal”), and is a nutritional superstar. Though it is not a complete protein, as quinoa is, it comes very close, and what it does have to offer is pretty amazing: about three times the protein of most other grains and high levels of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. As if that weren’t enough, it’s also the only grain documented to contain Vitamin C.
I love it’s delicate, sesame-like flavor, but I was less than enthused about it’s texture and appearance in my first cooking attempts. Admittedly, my expectations were high: I was already smitten with quinoa, and given their similarities, as well as it’s appealing tiny-ness, I felt confident that I would love it and prepared it in it’s simplest form, as a breakfast porridge.
Once swollen with water, the grains resemble pale pearls of gluey caviar, which, I suppose, is not terrible if you happen to love caviar (at 7 a.m., no less); I do not happen to be such a person.
But I summoned inner strength, used a liberal hand with the brown sugar, milk and raisins, and dug in. And liked it. A lot.
The affection continues to grow as I experiment with it in recipes, including muffins, breads, and both soups and stews (it is a terrific multipurpose thickener). But I find I’m downright giddy when I press the cooked, cooled grains into crispy, oven-baked patties. Nutritious, delicious, and easy on the eyes, too (i.e., fish-egg free!), I know you’ll love them, too.
(oh..and I’ll explain about “power hungry” in my next post…let’s just say enlightened cooking is migrating soon… 🙂