Like quinoa, amaranth is technically a seed, not a grain (specifically classified as a "pseudocerreal"), and is a nutritional superstar. Though it is not a complete protein, as quinoa is, it comes very close, and what it does have to offer is pretty amazing: higher protein and about three times the protein of most other grains (even though, and high levels of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. As if that weren't enough, it’s also the only grain documented to contain Vitamin C.
I love it's delicate, sesame-like flavor, but I was less than enthused about it's texture and appearance in my first cooking attempts. Admittedly, my expectations were high: I was already smitten with quinoa, and given their similarities, as well as it's appealing tiny-ness, I felt confident that I would love it and prepared it in it's simplest form, as a breakfast porridge.
Once swollen with water, the grains resemble pale pearls of gluey caviar, which, I suppose, is not terrible if you happen to love caviar (at 7 a.m., no less); I do not happen to be such a person.
But I summoned inner strength, used a liberal hand with the brown sugar, milk and raisins, and dug in. And liked it. A lot.
The affection continues to grow as I experiment with it in recipes, including muffins, breads, and both soups and stews (it is a terrific multipurpose thickener). But I find I'm downright giddy when I press the cooked, cooled grains into crispy, oven-baked patties. Nutritious, delicious, and easy on the eyes, too (i.e., fish-egg free!), I know you'll love them, too.
(oh..and I'll explain about "power hungry" in my next post...let's just say enlightened cooking is migrating soon... :)
Crispy Baked Amaranth Patties
If you are not a curry fan, swap out the spice blend for your favorite herbs and spices; or keep them plain and simple with salt and pepper (perfect for little ones--6-year-old Nick-approved!)
Makes about 10 patties
2 cups cooked, cooled amaranth (simply follow package directions; about 1 cup dry)
1/3 cup very finely chopped green onions
1 tbsp coconut oil, warmed, or vegetable oil
2 tsp curry powder (Use the heat level you prefer--I used medium heat)
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats (gluten-free, if needed)
1. In a large bowl, combine the amaranth, green onions, coconut oil, curry powder, cumin, salt and baking powder until well-blended; stir in oats.
2. Chill mixture while preheating oven to 400F (about 15 minutes).
3. Scoop about 1/4-cup amaranth mixture onto a large parchment- or nonstick foil-lined baking sheet; gently flatten with palm.
4. Bake the patties for 18 to 22 minutes or until tops are golden-brown; using a pancake turner, gently flip the patties over and bake for 10 to 12 minutes longer or until they’re golden and crisp. Serve warm with favorite sauce or salsa (or pile into a pita with vegetables, yogurt, and other such yumminess).