Weird foods: Popped amaranth

Friday, May 13, 2011

Amaranth is commonly referred to as a grain, but it is actually a tiny seed with big benefits. It is a great source of calcium, iron, protein, magnesium, zinc, and amino acids. Just 1/4 cup (uncooked) amaranth contains 7 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 21% of the RDA for iron.

Amaranth can be cooked as a hot cereal, ground into (or purchased as) flour for gluten-free baking, or even popped like popcorn!

I love popped amaranth tossed with salads, over hot cereal, added to baked goods, or in homemade granola bars.

Popping amaranth has a bit of a learning curve. It took me several tries before I found a method that works for me. It may take some experimentation for you as well but, to get you started, here is my method*:

  1. Heat a dry pan on high heat.
  2. Add about a tablespoon of amaranth and quickly move the pan in a circular motion (ala "Jiffy Pop") over the burner. The key here is to keep the pan moving in a circular motion until the amaranth has finished popping so that you don't end up with "snow" all over your kitchen!
*Note: This works well over my gas stove- I'm not sure how it would work over an electric burner.

(Updated from the original post, published May 2009.)

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