Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Amaranth: From the Farm to the Frying Pan
Amaranth plants just sproated everywhere right after a few days of heavy rain, coming from plants I uprooted a few months ago. The variety I'm using has reddish purple and green leaves. I've never tried eating these so I wanted to try it in its simplest form. I adapted a recipe for Sichuan Stir-Fried Amaranth Leaves with Garlic.
Amaranth has a very interesting history and has many food uses as the entire plant is edible, including the stalk. It also has an impressive amount of nutritional value.
Steamed Amaranth Leaves with Garlic
It taste amazingly like alugbati, a native edible vine, whose leaves are also of the same color as the amaranth. It has an intense smoky sweet spinach flavor and can therefore be substituted for any spinach dish.
300 g bunch of fresh amaranth leaves
1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
salt to tast
Place leaves in a steamer for 2 minutes or until leaves wilt and shrink to about a fourth of its original quantity.
Heat butter, salt and garlic in a saucepan on low heat, just until garlic starts to sizzle and salt dissolves. Garlic should not change color.
You may either remove garlic from the oil or leave it in (I leave it in), then add the steamed amaranth.
*The cooked leaves contain about 8% protein, 4% carbohydrates and are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins B and C in higher concentrations that spinach. For example, only 47 g of cooked leaves contains 100% of the minimum daily requirement of Vitamin C.