What to do with Amaranth?

written by Tasleem Bhanjee 16th October 2014



My gluten-free amaranth chapatis used to fall apart too easily when I tried to roll out the dough and ended up in small higgeldy piggeldy shapes – nothing like the traditional round roti you would expect.

However, they were deliciously crispy with a rich, nutty taste. Even more so with a light spread of ghee or coconut oil as soon as they came off the tawa (clay pan).

Despite its benefits, both taste- and health-wise, it seems that amaranth has not received much attention in the food world, particularly compared to quinoa. I think that needs to change.

Let’s start with what it is. Amaranth looks like a grain but is actually the fruit of a plant and contains more protein (like lysine) than other popular grains like wheat flour, oats or rice.

In the western world, this pseudo-grain is easily accessible and affordable. In Kenya, many people might not know that amaranth is locally grown, and is an amazing replacement for the highly processed wheat and corn products that we are addicted to.

Amaranth is also richer in iron, magnesium and calcium than most grains and is a great source of fiber.

Here’s to variety then, and some awesome recipes you can try with the amaranth grain or flour:

Pumpkin Pie Amaranth Porridge 

You may discard all boxed breakfast cereals once you’ve tried this warming breakfast recipe with coconut milk and spices (see feature image for what this dish looks like).

Ramani’s Gluten Free Chapatis 

These may be time-consuming to make, but Ramani’s chapatis (with amaranth and brown rice flours) are worth it with your Indian food or as a snack. My stack of chapatis is usually devoured (by me) as soon as it is made.

You can add a little more of the spices than the recipe calls for. Consider preparing them without oil on a tawa if you have one, or use a lightly oiled skillet.



Amaranth potato flatbread4

Photo courtesy Zesty South Indian Kitchen

Spiced Chocolate Amaranth Pudding

Another warming, spiced up dish to kick start the day. For better digestion, soak the grains overnight and use healthier sweeteners like honey or jaggery.



Coconut Amaranth Pudding

Photo courtesy The Happiness in Health

Feature photo: My new roots

Research sources: 3 gluten-free wheat substitutes

Amaranth: a solution to food insecurity in Kenya


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