Recipe: What you can cook with superfood amaranth

Amaranth plant. Picture credit: flickr.com/ Kasey Lo

Amaranth is one of those super foods worth exploring. Commonly known as dantina soppu in Kannada, it is known by different names and consumed in many parts of India as well as South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa.

Its leaves and seeds are used to make several dishes.

Health benefits of amaranth:

Easy digestion: It is high in fibre and this means that it will get digested easily as well as prevent constipation.

Gluten-free: Since there is no gluten in amaranth, it is great for people who cannot tolerate gluten.

Hair loss: Amaranth contains a rare amino acid called lysine that helps in preventing baldness. The human body cannot produce lysine.

High protein: Amaranth is rich in protein, which is needed for the growth and repair of cells. It has more protein than many grains that are commonly available.

Decreases risk of cardiovascular disease: The fibre in amaranth gets rid of bad cholesterol and helps balance its levels in the blood. It also contains vitamin K that helps in improving heart health.

High calcium: With this quality, amaranth is bound to be good for boosting calcium levels in the blood. Adequate calcium is required to prevent osteoporosis and improve bone health.

Eyesight booster: There are ample amounts of vitamin A and carotenoids and both can improve eye health and even slow down the growth of cataracts.

Helps reduce weight: Amaranth is high in fibre and makes your stomach feel full. This is likely to make you eat less and thus help in weight loss.

Amaranth is consumed in many countries. It can be made into a soup and there are several recipes available on the internet.

There is one curry-like preparation that can be made with amaranth leaves. This is more common in southern parts of India.

Ingredients:

Amaranth – one bunch or more depending on the number of people it is for.

Tur dal – 3/4th to one cup. Again, this can be increased a bit if more amaranth is used.

Urad dal – one teaspoon.

Vegetable oil – one and a half teaspoons.

Mustard – half teaspoon.

Methi – quarter teaspoon.

Salt – to taste.

tamarind dissolved in water – to taste.

A small bit of coriander and curry leaves.

Cooking procedure – about 20 minutes:

Wash the leaves well and pressure-cook them along with the tur dal. Make sure to add a pinch of turmeric and one teaspoon of oil to the amaranth and dal. This will help it cook properly.

Take one and a half teaspoons of oil in a kadai.

Put the mustard seeds in and add a bit of asafoetida as well.

Green and dry red chillies can then be added. A couple of each will do but more can be added for a spicier dish.

Throw in the curry leaves.

At this point, a bit of tamarind juice can be added.

The whole thing is to be boiled till the raw smell goes away.

The cooked dal-amaranth mixture is to be added to the kadai.

Add a bit of salt and let boil for 5 minutes.

Coriander leaves can be added on top for garnishing. Leave it in for a few minutes before serving so that the coriander’s flavour also comes out.

Made slightly thick, this can be an excellent side dish with chapatis. A slightly more watery consistency makes it great with rice.

With the amount of dal reduced and water increased, it can make a great soup.

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Recipe: What you can cook with superfood amaranth

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