The modern day seeks for healthier alternatives to reverse the bad effects of fast food and other junks. Healthy eating is a call for everyone who wants to enjoy better quality of life. It is also key to living far longer. A balanced and healthy diet, when combined with regular exercise, will help lessen your risks for different health conditions. It will also help keeping you looking younger and livelier.
It could not be stressed enough that we should make better food choices to ensure a healthier, better quality of life.
Amaranth grains are nice and nutritious alternatives that healthy eaters can turn to. They are very small, light brown in color, and have a sticky texture when cooked. They are used as an alternative to rice, pasta, couscous, and even ground corn kernels.
Amaranth grains prove to be a better option than white rice and pasta because it is packed with protein and calcium. Since it is a grain, it is considered complex carbohydrates packed with fiber, which our body needs as fuel for energy.
What is even more amazing about this type of grain is that it can be cooked many different ways. You just make sure that you know how to cook amaranth properly to extract all its healthy goodness and delightful flavors.
There are a couple of things you must remember when cooking amaranth seeds. First, you should not overcook it as it will turn the sticky texture into somewhat gummy. You must also season it properly in order to enhance its nutty, malty taste. You can use amaranth seeds in a variety of recipes from sweet porridge to savory stews. You need to only make adjustments on what you actually put in.
For basic cooking, a cup of amaranth seeds must be combined with two and a half cups of water. You may add in salt and pepper or sugar, depending on your recipe. Stir the mixture well. Put the mixture in a heavy saucepan with lid. Set your heat to high until the mixture boils. Once it reaches the boiling point, you may place the lid and lower the heat so it boils gently for 20-25 minutes.
Check your cooking amaranth every once in a while to make sure that all the grains are soaked up in water. When cooked, the texture of your grains must be sticky but soft. It almost has the same texture as boiled ground corn when cooked.
There are a couple of dishes that you can create with amaranth seeds. You can boil it in broth, instead of seasoned water for better tasting, savory result. You may also boil it in honey or sugar to create a sweet porridge. Amaranth can also be gained and milled to be used as flour. This way, you can use the grains to make pastas and other baked dishes. Amaranth is also cooked like a popcorn. They can also be used as a thickening ingredient in saucy dishes. They can also be roasted or added to stir-fries. There are truly a number of ways you can enjoy this healthy alternative so you won’t get bored eating it and taking advantage of all the nutrients it contains.
However, the more popular way of enjoying amaranth is simply boiled, to replace the need for rice or couscous. If you boil the grains with mild flavors, it will serve as a nice side dish for savory steaks and other main courses.
Amaranth is a very popular plant many centuries before. It is staple food for pre-Columbian Aztecs, believing that the plant has superpowers and even incorporating it in many of their religious activities. In early 1500s, Amaranth also became a symbol of sacrifice as Aztec women used amaranth seeds and combined it with either human blood or honey, to be eaten ceremoniously.
Later on, amaranth was widely used in many different cultures as well. In Mexico, this grain is popped and mixed with sugar or milled and roasted to create a drink. In Peru, it is used to make beers. In Ecuador, the flowers of the Amaranth plant is boiled and combined with a rum to help purify the blood and regulate one’s menstrual cycle. In Nepal, the seeds are milled to make a flour.
There are different varieties of the Amaranth plant. Some are grown for the leaves; others are grown for the seeds. A bushy plant, which grows between five and seven feet can produce about 50,000 seeds, which can be used for different recipes as mentioned earlier. Aside from its wondrous characteristics as a food ingredient, the amaranth plant is also amazing, being able to adapt to even extreme weather conditions. It is one of the plants that are easiest to grow as it has no disease problems and can stand through lack of water and heat.