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Jan 22, 2009 06:19 AM

how to cook amaranth (the grain)

i got a huge bag of it, and tried to cook it a few days ago: 2 part water to 1 part amaranth (which I toasted in the pot first). it took so long to cook (at least 2 hours) and i kept adding more and more water since the grains weren't cooking. in the end, i think its cooked through; all the grains excreted some slimey sludgey stuff which i actually quite delicious. i ended up with a huge pot of porridge which is yummy, but I need a solid recipe. and, I have no idea if it is supposed to end up like this or not.

can anyone help me out?

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  1. My experience with amaranth is with the flour that it is usually ground into and used in baked goods, pancakes, breads, etc. If you've cooked it into a porridge you should be able to use it much the same way you might try using it in any way you might use cooked oatmeal.
    A half cup of amaranth in two and a half cups of water should cook, simmered in covered container, in about fifteen minutes (or until all the water is absorved)

    1. Hi, bigjeff -- I've never tried to cook amaranth just as a rice-type side dish, so I can't help you there. But this recipe from Vegetarian Times is one I've used often and that DH and I really like. It's for Amaranth Cakes with Mushrooms; here's the link: . I don't get mine to look as pretty as the photo on their site, but they still taste good! It's very earthy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LNG212

        oh that is perfect; thank you! yes, looking for versatile ways to use this since I have this huge bag of it.

      2. I've had this problem, too -- and I think it is, in part, from using old amaranth. (Lots of stores don't have a high turnover rate for this stuff.)

        Sorry this isn't a proper recipe, either, but here are a few tips: It helps to soak the amaranth for at least 24 hours, beforehand. Drain and add about 2 parts liquid (try subbing coconut milk or jucie if you know you'll eat the batch sweet or use broth if you want to eat it savory) to 1 part amaranth, bring to a boil, and then simmer on low for about 20 minutes or until the grains 'pop'. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for about 20 more minutes. This will keep in the fridge for a long while and can be used as a base for porridge, pilaf-like, and other dishes.

        > Reheat with milk, butter, salt, sugar and spices if you want breakfast porridge
        > Cook with diced tomatoes, cilantro, onion, garlic and other mix-ins for a savory version

        Some recipes caution you against overcooking. I think I like it 'over' cooked and a little mushy. (Sounds like you may, as well.)

        6 Replies
        1. re: cimui

          p.s. I wonder if the baking soda soaking trick for beans would work for amaranth, as well.

          1. re: cimui

            it wasn't my intention to make the porridge, I really thought it would cook up in discrete grains like quinoa but, it actually came out nice. added dried shrimp, shiitake and some other asian seasonings, turning into basically a salty jook. I don't think I did the soaking, but I bet draining would be a pain, what with the tiny size of the stuff.

            making a sweet version with coconut milk sounds awesome! i have been eating it for breakfast (had it this morning with small cubes of taro mixed in).

            1. re: bigjeff

              yeah, it is a pain in the bum to drain. i have a fine mesh seive that i use... or a flour sifter works if you've nothing else! maybe some people would find it a bit gross, but perhaps you could just use whatever liquid you soaked the amaranth in to cook, as well? i don't really know the rationale for replacing the old water other than for cleanliness. i just do it because everyone else seems to. :)

              sounds like your 'recipe' worked just fine, by the way. i'd eat that. :)

              1. re: cimui

                oh ya definitely you can cook in the soaking liquid (provided its relatively clean); i do that with dried beans for sure (maybe some of the soaked out starch helps thicken the final product?). still eating my way through this first batch but definitely will try the amaranth cakes tho.

                1. re: bigjeff

                  I did not soak it. I boiled 2 cups of water and added 1 cup amaranth covered and turned down to simmer for 20 minutes. Turned off burner, uncovered and added 1 tbs kalamata olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and a handful of toasted pecan pieces (sorta random), but it tastes great and the texture reminds me of couscous. I will repeat. -MC

                  1. re: bigjeff

                    I forgot, I added a little Mirin too. -MC

            2. okay, so I just made amaranth and completely screwed it up. I now have this gloopy, gelatinous mess which tastes all right, if you mix stuff in and forget about the texture. I think maybe if I strain it through cheesecloth when it cools, I can fix it enough to make a decent breakfast porridge, but i was wondering if anyone had any tips.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ElleMNOP

                I think in the end, I kept adding liquid to it but it seems like the grain doesn't really break down; if you feel like it, I don't even think you need to strain it, but just keep cooking it down at low heat until you like the consistency and then just go to town, savory or sweet. it's funky stuff right?

                tells of popping it in this granola recipe, & I too am new to just starting to use amaranth but I tried it in a rice steamer, 2 parts water to 1 part amaranth, & I don't have the times down yet but it was less than an hour & would probably depend on the quantity you were cooking. It turned out great!