Quinoa and Amaranth
Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 August 2010 04:00 Written by adpart Monday, 7 June 2010 11:46
Quinoa and it’s less know cousin, amaranth, are members of the Chenopodium family. Botanically they are not a grain but rather a berry but they are mostly used as a grain would be used. These foods are so nourishing and good for you that in countries where these foods are regularly eaten, there exsists no malnutrition.
Both quinoa and amaranth are a very good source of both protein and calcium. They contain more calcium and the calcium cofactores-magnesium and silicon-than milk. This makes it an efficient source of calcium, much more so than milk. These foods are also a wonderful source of fiber, amino acids (lysine and methionine), and vitamin C.
Quinoa and amaranth are bitter and sweet in flavor. They dry dampness and benefit the lungs. They are useful in helping these conditions:
Tips for Preparing Quinoa:
Thoroughly wash the seeds to remove any remaining saponin residue. An effective method is to run cold water over quinoa that has been placed in a fine-meshed strainer, gently rubbing the seeds together with your hands. To ensure that the saponins have been completely removed, taste a few seeds. If they still have a bitter taste, continue the rinsing process. Add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. After the mixture is brought to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. One cup of quinoa cooked in this method usually takes 15 minutes to prepare. If you desire the quinoa to have a nuttier flavor, you can dry roast it before cooking; to dry roast, place it in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir constantly for five minutes.
I have yet to find an amaranth recipe that I like, this is why I just hide it. When I make a pureed soup I use some amaranth as a thickener. Any recipe that calls for a thickener such as a potato can be replaced with a 1/4 cup of amaranth. You might need to add a little extra water as the amaranth will absorb more water than a potato would.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
Combine cooked chilled quinoa with pinto beans, pumpkin seeds, scallions and coriander. Season to taste and enjoy this south-of-the-border inspired salad.
- Add nuts and fruits to cooked quinoa and serve as breakfast porridge.
- For a twist on your favorite pasta recipe, use noodles made from quinoa.
- Add amaranth to your favorite vegetable soups.
- Ground quinoa/amaranth flour can be added to cookie or muffin recipes.
- Quinoa is great to use in tabouli, serving as a delicious (and wheat-free) substitute for the bulgar wheat with which this Middle Eastern dish is usually made.