Amaranth is a tiny seed – it isn’t really a grain, though that is how we treat it – and has both sweet and grassy overtones. I experimented with preparing it as a polenta, like the teff polenta I made earlier in the week, and seasoning it with nut oil or mixing in a little Parmesan. It worked that way, but I still found that the flavor of this food works better with sweet flavors, and the texture did not benefit from the long oven simmer, the way the teff did. So again, I decided that amaranth is best served as a breakfast porridge. I toasted the seeds in the pan before adding water, and this added a wonderful popcorn dimension to the flavor. The aroma of this cereal as it cooked reminded me of the smell of the whole wheat Ralston Hot Cereal that my mother used to make for me. The amaranth will cook in about 20 minutes on top of the stove. I add milk halfway through the cooking, and the amaranth retains a nice grainy texture.
For each serving
- ¼ cup amaranth
- ½ cup water
- Pinch of salt
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ small or 1/4 large apple, grated
- Nutritional Information
Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.
Nutritional analysis per serving (1 serving)
284 calories; 6 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 1 gram monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 50 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 16 grams sugars; 9 grams protein; 8 milligrams cholesterol; 333 milligrams sodium
- Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add the amaranth seeds. Shake them in the pan until they begin to smell toasty and a few seeds begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Immediately pour in the water. Do not wait too long because the line between toasted and burnt amaranth is a thin one – as soon as you smell the toasty aroma and see a few seeds popping, add the water. Add the salt, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer 10 minutes.
- Stir in the milk and bring back to a simmer, stirring. Cover and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the amaranth is tender. Remove from heat and stir in the maple syrup. Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle the grated apple on top and serve.
- Advance preparation: You can make more than you need and keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Amaranth reheats well. I add a little more milk when I reheat.