20 Aug 2008

Delving into Aztec ingredients

Some time ago I stumbled across the little known amaranth in a whole foods shop - a naturally gluten free grain (its actually a seed) with its origins in the diets of the Aztecs. Although intrigued by this small grain that looks similar to cous cous it has remained in my cupboard since that day.

Today on my return from work feeling inspired to tackle something new in the kitchen I attacked the amaranth, excited to see how it would cook up since its cooking instructions were also similar to a cous cous approach.

The disaster that followed could be an indication to why amaranth has remained so... undiscovered. It absorbed all the water rapidly despite being on the lowest heat, and adding more water to meet the cooking time of 35minutes meant it ended up like semolina. My instincts abandoned me.

But then dejavu I think from my first encounter with polenta inspired me to pack the seasoned and herbed mush into a tin to refrigerate. I have done this with polenta to pan fry "bready" breakfast alternative and it works very well. Alas amaranth is not the same beast...and a beast it still remains until I can fathom out a way to cook it successfully!

Any wisdom from Aztec relations would be much appreciated.


Paragon~Of~Virtue said...

Hi Kim,

I wonder if this link
is of any help re: amaranth.
I'm interested in this now thanks to you :)


Vittoria said...

I've had luck puffing amaranth. Kind of like popping popcorn on the stove. In small batches in a big pot. You can eat it like hot cereal or in granola bars.

Lauren Denneson said...

Hi Kim,
I've been cooking amaranth for a while for breakfast - it's more like oatmeal than cous cous - your experience cooking it is perfectly normal. (you can see a recipe for it on my site: daringtothrive.blogspot.com) Quinoa is actually very similar to cous cous, however, and works well in salads.
Hope this helps!

Sarah said...

Hi Kim,

Myra Kornfeld has a recipe for really tasty amaranth-studded cornbread in her cookbook the Voluptuous Vegan. It's not gluten-free, but you can substitute amaranth into GF cornbread (with buckwheat flour). It's nice and crunchy. I think amaranth is better as part of a mixture of grains.

You might like my blog, blog.triumphdining.com, please check it out!

Kim McGowan said...

Thanks for the tips on Amaranth...half the bag from this escaped remains in my cupboard so I will attempt again!!