Amaranth also called rajgira in India is an amazing ancient grain with wonderful nutritional benefits. We will immense health benefits, if we include it everyday in our diet and if we pop amaranth, it can be had as a high protein snack too. Here at home, we make a stir fry and mash with the leaves and stem of the plant.
Lately, I have started using amaranth seeds in my cooking and I have gotten really creative with it and so far, I have tried amaranth bars, amaranth pudding and a stir fry. I first came across amaranth seeds a few months back attractively packed in my local super market. When I looked at the nutritional information at the back of the pack, I was very much impressed.
I immediately bought a pack for cooking it at home, though I struggled to cook it perfectly (especially popping the seeds without burning) in the beginning, over time I learnt to cook it perfectly. I also did a lot of research about the health benefits and medicinal uses of this wonderful seed.
What Is Amaranth?
Amaranth is one of the oldest grains in the world, and it is a must know grain not only because it is ancient but because it offers a lot of health benefits. Amaranth is actually a pseudo grain that means though it has all the nutrients like a grain, it is actually a seed of amaranth plant.
Amaranth was cultivated by aztecs who lived from 14th to 16th centuries and it made up of 80 % of their diet. Amaranth was not only their staple diet, they also used it in religious ceremonies. The word Amaranth refers to all the plants belonging to the genus Amaranthus that has around 70 species.
Amaranth Common Names:
Amaranth Nutritional Value:
Amaranth Health Benefits & Medicinal Uses:
1. High Protein Content:
2. Lowers Cholesterol:
Amaranth has wonderful cholesterol lowering properties. Amaranth has been proven to reduce LDL cholesterol significantly, you can read the study that proves it here. Any food that is rich in fiber helps lower cholesterol, fiber binds with the cholesterol and helps excrete it naturally. 100 grams of amaranth has around 4 grams of fiber, people with high cholesterol levels can include amaranth in their diet regularly.
3. Good For Diabetes:
4. Amaranth Antioxidant Properties:
5. Amaranth For Weight Loss:
6. Amaranth For Bone Health:
7. Amaranth is Gluten Free:
8. Amaranth For Hair & Skin:
9. Amaranth During Fasting & Pregnancy:
10. Amaranth Greens:
Where To Buy Amaranth?
How To Pop Amaranth Seeds At Home Easily:
1. The secret to popping amaranth is that the pan should be hot. The seeds should pop immediately when you add the seeds to the pan. The white colored ones are the ones that popped immediately upon adding.
2. The second important thing is to pop only a tablespoon at a time, since the seeds are very small they tend to burn very very quickly if you add large batches. Once you add the seeds, close the pan with a lid and swirl it around so the heat gets distributed evenly so the rest of the seeds that haven’t popped also pop.
3. Once you have popped all the seeds, it will look something like this, smaller version of puffed rice. Also, in my personal experience, few seeds don’t pop at all and I just sieve the popped seeds in a large hole strainer and they just fall off…
Amaranth Recipes | Rajgira Recipes:
1. Amaranth Bars Recipe:
This is my own recipe and it came out so delicious. For the bars, for a cup of amaranth, use a cup of chocolate chips. First pop the amaranth using the method above and add 2 tbsp of finely cut pistachios to it. Melt the chocolate along with a tsp of butter.
Once fully melted, let cool a bit and then add the popped amaranth and mix well. Line a square tin with cling film and press the mixture firmly and leave it in the refrigerator to firm up and then slice. This is a high protein snack that is wonderful for children…
2. Amaranth Pudding:
This is also an other recipe that I tried on my own and it came out delicious. For the pudding, soak 1 cup amaranth seeds overnight in a cup of water. The next day, add a cup of milk to it, close the lid and cook till it is fully cooked. Open the lid, add a tbsp of cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon powder and enough raw sugar | brown sugar to sweeten.
Add a few drops of vanilla too. Let the mixture thicken and then switch off. Pour into individual cups and chill in the refrigerator, you can either serve it plain or topped with fruits of your choice. A very healthy high protein dessert, for vegan version, use coconut milk instead of plain milk…