The amaranth is a highly nutritious plant that has actually been here for centuries. Back in the days of the pre-Columbian Aztecs, the amaranth was once a staple. In fact, it was thought of having powers that it has become present at all their religious ceremonies. That was also the reason why amaranth went almost extinct.
During that time, the seed of the amaranth was grinded and added with honey or human blood to eat during the ceremonies. They were shaped into idols before it was eaten. Thus, the amaranth’s association to human sacrifices was then banned. The Spanish has banned the ceremonies, the human sacrifices, and the amaranth altogether. Spain has forbidden the growth or consumption of amaranth. It could have been completely extinct if not for those who continued to cultivate them in the Andes and Mexico regions. Thankfully, we still have amaranth today.
Mexico has continued cultivating amaranth as they made use of it in different things. The Mexicans combined amaranth with a sugar solution resulting to a confection that they call the “alegria” which means happiness. On the other hand, they also mill and roast amaranth to use it for creating the “atole” a traditional drink in Mexico. Of course, other regions have their versions of how they use amaranth. The Peruvians ferment the seeds to brew their beer. Now even the flowers of the amaranth plant are used for treating fevers and toothaches! On the other hand, it is also a great food color to use. It is used to color quinoa and maize, and it is even used as face paint too. Let’s now learn how to cook amaranth with this basic recipe. Let’s learn how to cook amaranth the most basic way.
To cook amaranth, you’ll need 1 ½ cups of water for every ½ cup of amaranth. You’ll also need salt to taste. Using a small saucepan, simply combine the water and amaranth and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt to taste. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes. Cover the saucepan and cook in low heat. Once the water is absorbed, you can turn off the heat and let cool before eating. You can add more salt depending on how you want it. Another variation you can do to your cooked amaranth is to mix in other tiny grains. You can use teff and quinoa too. Just make sure to cook these separately by following the instructions in their packages. When using quinoa, make sure to rinse it thoroughly before cooking.