This article provides an overview of amaranth, what it tastes like, its availability, alternative names, and of course what other ingredients make amaranth substitutes.
What is Amaranth?
Amaranths are a species of plant native to North America, that is cultivated as a leaf vegetable, ornamental plants or pseudo-cereals.
Amaranths were first cultivated by the Aztecs and used in a similar way to maize, it was thought to represent up to 80% of their energy consumption.
What does Amaranth taste like?
Amaranth has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, that has a delicious crunchy texture once cooked. Amaranth can be compared to quinoa in cooking style and textures, however, it has a much more distinct earthy flavor and grassy aroma.
Is Amaranth readily available in Supermarkets?
Amaranth should be available in major supermarkets, although it may be sold as a mix of grains, often with red quinoa, green lentils, wheat-berries, and bulgur wheat. Alternatively, you can often find on online retailers or specialty health stores.
What are some alternative names for Amaranth?
Amaranths are a collective genus of plants that are individually known as Amaranthus. In Asia, amaranth is commonly referred to as bayam, but this confusingly is also the common reference for spinach.
What is a good substitute for Amaranth in recipes?
Luckily, there are a number of great substitutes for amaranth. These include:
- In recipes, the best substitute for amaranth would be soy flour, because it has similar textures and nutritional values.
- You can easily substitute for quinoa, however, the seeds are larger and denser than amaranth and often have a more bitter taste.
What cuisines are Amaranth used in?
Amaranth is a plant that has been used as a food source for thousands of years, especially in Latin America and other parts of the world. The amaranth plant is versatile, and its seeds, leaves, and stems can all be used as food. In this article, we will discuss the various cuisines where amaranth is used and how it is used in each of them.
Latin American Cuisine
Amaranth has been a staple food in many Latin American countries for centuries. It is used to make a traditional dish called “alegría,” which is a sweet, crunchy snack made with popped amaranth seeds, honey, and nuts. It is also used to make a savory dish called “caldo de bolas,” which is a soup made with amaranth leaves, plantain, and meatballs. Amaranth is also used in tamales and other traditional Latin American dishes.
In India, amaranth is known as “rajgira” and is used during Hindu fasting periods. It is used to make a flatbread called “rajgira roti,” which is made with amaranth flour, water, and spices. Amaranth is also used in sweets such as “rajgira laddoo,” which is made with popped amaranth seeds, jaggery, and coconut.
In China, amaranth is used in a dish called “xian cai,” which is a type of vegetable stir-fry made with amaranth leaves and other vegetables. It is also used to make a type of sweet porridge called “xiang mi hu,” which is made with amaranth flour and sweetened with sugar.
In Africa, amaranth is used in a variety of dishes. In Nigeria, it is used to make a soup called “efo tete,” which is made with amaranth leaves, tomatoes, and other vegetables. In Ghana, amaranth is used to make a dish called “kontomire stew,” which is made with amaranth leaves, smoked fish, and spices. In East Africa, amaranth leaves are used in a dish called “sukuma wiki,” which is a vegetable dish made with collard greens, onions, and tomatoes.
In Mexico, amaranth is used to make a sweet, candy-like snack called “alegría,” which is similar to the Latin American version of the dish. It is also used in a traditional drink called “atole,” which is made with amaranth flour, milk, and sugar.
Amaranth is not as commonly used in European cuisine as it is in other parts of the world. However, it is used in some traditional dishes. In Greece, amaranth leaves are used in a dish called “vlita,” which is a type of vegetable stir-fry. In Italy, amaranth is used in a dish called “polenta di amaranto,” which is a type of polenta made with amaranth flour and cheese.