One pot amaranth curry supper
The obvious choice would have been basmati rice, were it not for the want of nutritional punch. Plus, then it would have been two pots, and who has time for that midweek, busy week? Then again, I could have easily gone with quinoa, meeting both requirements of simplicity and nutritional delivery. Millet would have worked well, too. Only, it had to be amaranth.
It was high time. I've wanted to try it for a long while. I'm really, truly late to the party. Way beyond the point of being fashionably so...now to the point where I think I may have um, lied and said yes, I've cooked amaranth, because the expectation was of course I had, and I was embarrassed.
I even like the sound of the name, amaranth. It has a sort of magic sparkle, like amethyst, but with a warrior strength about it. It's derived from the Greek amarantos, "one that does not wither"...another reason to like it, especially in the mild midlife crisis sort of mode I've found myself in recently (it's mostly over, and has to do with birthdays not being fun anymore when they're mine--at least not the counting candles part).
But there are plenty of more sensible reasons to like amaranth, including that it is a plant-based, complete protein powerhouse. It's also been associated with promoting heart health and is rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. According to the Whole Grains Council, it's the only grain documented to contain Vitamin C. It's also a source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Pretty awesome stuff, but does it taste good? The easy (and honest) answer is yes. I wouldn't describe it as nutty like quinoa, and it doesn't get fluffy the way millet can. It's more beaded, in a popping sort of way. It cooks up soft and just chewy with a a hint of crunch. It's frequently used as porridge with sweet flavors, but lends itself well to savory dishes too, making it really suitable for a curry like this. The fragrant curry spices, onions, bright vegetables and sweet inclusions like apple and raisins made...I have to say they melded harmoniously.
In a quiet, unassuming sort of way, amaranth made sure the wait was worth it, without feeling the need to stay top dog or compete with other great grains and alternatives. It's happy to sub in, or take a rain check while another takes the stage. It'll pop and pronounce itself, or blend into the overall flavor profile of any porridgey, one-pot sort of meal without protest. I like it.
Curried amaranth skillet
- 1 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
- shake sea salt and pepper or to taste
- 1 1/2 cups amaranth
- 4 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1 cup mushrooms
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- Approximately 6 ounces fresh or frozen chopped spinach
- 1½ cups cooked chickpeas or 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 apple, peeled and chopped (a firm and tart type, like Granny Smith)
- ½ cup raisins
1. Heat oil in large saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add onion and carrots, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes. 2. Add curry powder, garam masala, and ginger, and cook 1 minute. Stir in amaranth and stock or water. Add remaining ingredients. 3. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 25 minutes, or until most of liquid is absorbed, stirring several times.