I have been reading about Amaranth and it’s wonderful properties for a long time now… ‘Amaranth’ known as ‘Rajgira’ in Hindi was once very popular in Northern India. Like many other highly nutritious grains of our country, this one also had faded away from our day today diets. Amaranth seems to be ‘back with a bang’ with almost every ‘whole/’natural food blogger’ from different parts of the world blogging about it! When I recently found a pack of Amaranth in one of my local organic stores I quickly grabbed a dock for myself.
If you don’t know much about Amarath, let me just tell you that it’s something you really want to include in your diet. Amaranth, known as a ‘wonder grain’ is actually not a grain! they are seeds from the plant ‘Amaranth’ and is completely gluten free. It’s very high in protein, calcium, fibre, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and iron.
One of the most common ways of eating Amaranth is cooking it into a porridge. It can easily replace your morning oatmeal or cereal. Amaranth can also be puffed and eaten by the handful as a snack. In India, traditionally it was puffed and made into laddus and consumed for breakfast or on fasting days.
Like I have mentioned earlier I have never been fan of porridges so I was’t thrilled with the idea of making amaranth porridge. I tried puffing amaranth and while it tastes great, it’s very time consuming. You have to puff them up in very very small batches as it tends to burn easily. So when I was thinking about making the traditional amaranth laddu, I thought why not just cook it and use it in laddu instead of puffing it!
My version of Amaranth laddu is nothing like the traditional one. It has just 3 main ingredients, amaranth, dates and almonds! It’s soft, sticky with a little bit of bite from the amaranth and crunch from almonds. I have used just dates for sweetening so it’s refined sugar free. It’s quick and easy to make and for people who are new to amaranth it is a good recipe to start with.
These amaranth laddus can be a good dessert option. It’s very sweet so a small ball/laddu will satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth! Include them in your or your children’s lunch box. They are also very good snacks to have on hand as they will keep you full and happy for a while.
Go to your nearest Organic store and get yourself a pack of Amarath or Rajgira. You’ll soon be flooded with amaranth recipes here as I will try to include them as much as possible in our diet.
If you want these laddus less sweet reduce the amount of dates in the recipe
You can cook the amaranth for longer for a much softer laddu. I liked the chewiness of it.
I have used ghee but you can easily replace it with olive oil/coconut oil to make it vegan.
Try adding vanilla or cardamom instead of cinnamon. If you like chocolate, go ahead and add a spoonful of unsweetend cocoa into the laddu. I am sure it’ll taste fabulous (like Raw Date Truffles)
If you are in Bangalore – I bought Amaranth from ‘Green tech organics’
Here’s the address – #4,1st C main,Girinagar, 2nd stage, Bangalore. Ph: 9880083382,
- 1/2 cup amaranth
- 1/2 cup good quality dates
- a pinch of cinnamon
- 8-10 almonds
- 1 tsp ghee/clarified butter
Place 1/2 cup amaranth and 1 1/2 cups of water in a pan. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 7-10 minutes. When the amaranth has absorbed a little bit of water and looked slightly cooked, add the finitely chopped dates. Continue to cover and cook for another 5 minutes adding more water if required. When the amaranth is cooked to the desired softness, add the cinnamon and ghee and cook it in medium heat for everything to come together with most water dried up. Add the chopped almonds, mix well and turn off the heat.
Let the mixture cool completely. Grease your palms with a little bit of ghee, take small bits of the sweet amaranth mixture, roll it between your palms to make little balls. It’ll be very soft and sticky so take care while handling it. Decorate them with small pieces of almonds. You can serve them right away or let them chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours for all the flavors to develop well.