Quinoa … The “Wonder Grain” And Other Stories

The supermarkets, newspapers and magazines these days are obsessed with preaching the benefits of Quinoa , The Inca grain that has made the Andes farmers super rich .I know I sound like I have something against this 800 year old grain or the farmers from Peru and Bolivia but its not so . What “is so” is the fact that in today’s world of trends, internet and food fads we somehow forget the torchbearers. In this case I am talking about “amaranth “the 7000year old seed (not grain) which was a staple of the Aztecs.

We have all tasted amaranth greens as “chulai” in our saag or amaranth seeds in “ramdaane ke laddoo” .(a typical jaggery and popped amaranth seed candy). Red Amaranth leaves have now become a western India classic known as “laal math”in Maharashtra or “taamri bhaaji” in Goa. The seeds are Gluten free like Quinoa, can be treated in all ways that quinoa can and have exactly the same Nutritional value as quinoa. Yes the advantage is that Quinoa can grow in moderate drought conditions and has been of interest to the Indian Farmers for this reason, but in this rush to the supermarkets to applaud the wonder grain we should stop by a street vendor selling ramdaane ke laddu, eat one and smile for “Amaranth the torch bearer”

Amaranth Shammi Kebabs

• Amaranth seeds 1 cup
• Black pepper whole ¼ tsp
• Black cardamon seeds ¼ tsp
• Red chilly whole ½ no
• Roasted chana dal flour ¼ cup
• Garam masala 1 tsp
• Salt to taste
• Ghee 1 tsp

• Boil the amaranth seeds with double the water and whole spices for 25 minutes, till it absorbs the water, drain the excess water.
• Blend the amaranth mixture to a paste , add the garam masala and then the roasted chana besan to bind the mixture, make patties.
• Coat with popped amaranth seeds or bread crumbs.
• Shallow fry in ghee and serve hot.

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