What is Amaranth?
Amaranth is a very light and versatile millet. It is high in protein, calcium, iron and magnesium among other nutrients. Being easy to digest, it is one of my favourite breakfast items. It is available as a seed and also as a puffed up form of the seed. I recommend both of them.
You would need to cook the seeds as shown in this recipe but it can also be eaten uncooked in its puffed form as it is already cooked there. You can top with some plant-based milk and nuts and raisins for crunch and sweetness.
Amaranth goes by many names in India and is variously called rajgira, chaulai, seel, marsa, keera and pung etc. The vernacular names are sourced from the book Bhule Bisre Anaj by Navdanya.
Although it is counted as a millet, it is actually a pseudo-millet as it is technically not a grain. It is actually a seed like buckwheat and quinoa. This is why it is popular during “navratra” fasting period where people avoid eating grains and cereals.
It is a familiar food in India eaten on the fasting days in the form of laddus and chikkis. Recent research has revealed many health promoting facts about this wonder grain.
Rajgira or amaranth is a very good source of protein containing 15 to 17 percent protein by weight. It is a good source of essential amino acids, especially lysine which is present in higher levels as compared to other cereals. It has more than 20 percent of the recommended daily amount of calcium, iron and magnesium. It is rich in tocotrienols and phytosterols, the two phytochemicals known to help reduce cholesterol. This millet is also a good source of potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A and vitamin C.
This recipe is cooked but you can also enjoy puffed amaranth in oats or morning cereals.
Hot Amaranth Porridge Recipe
- 1 cup un-puffed amaranth seeds
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup coconut milk or almond milk (optional)
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped dates or raisins or 2 tbsp organic jaggery (avoid if diabetic)
- 6 slivered almonds
- Soak the amaranth in water for 10 mins
- Wash thoroughly by rinsing 2 times
- Drain and add 2 cups of fresh water
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 mins till the water is almost gone. Each seed would have a tiny sprout like tendril that opens up when cooked.
- If you are using jaggery, you can add that half way after 5 minutes of cooking
- Once cooked thoroughly, add the coconut milk and cinnamon and heat till desired temperature. There is no need to boil plant-based milks. You can also have it cold.
- Switch off the heat and add the dates or raisins
- Garnish with chopped almonds
Enjoy your delicious and nutritious breakfast!