Amaranth is also known as Rajgira, Ramdana in India. We consume amaranth in several different forms: plant leaves, seeds, or seed flour. What’s interesting to know is that the origin of the word amaranth is from Sanskrit and it means, ‘deathless’. It’s sweet, earthy, gluten-free grain. Packed with protein Power.
These amaranth and seed energy bars are made using amaranth grain. The grains are very light both in colour and weight and we will dry roast them so they puff up for our recipe today.
I had never realised it’s true nutritional value + the versatility of this power food before. But definitely, I have had eaten it many times. We use to call puffed amaranth seeds fulliya (it is a Punjabi word). Mom used it to make special dished using amaranth during Navratri days. At home, we were all fans of special dishes made for fasting days. I often would skip the regular food and indulge in yummy dishes mom made for herself. Not considering she is been fasting since morning, and the poor lady will have to make more for herself.
I never realised it before, how much we take our Mothers for granted till I become a mother myself. But love you, mom…
So getting back our amaranth- I got these organic amaranth seeds from a company named as Truefarms. Truefarm supports farmers across the world and deals with organic food products. They believe in nutrition and wellness and work with social organisations for that betterment of farmers. The products are of good quality and I believe in the way they work.Truefarm Foods Organic Amaranth, 250g
Amaranth is a protein-rich food, with the additional benefits of iron, calcium, protein, manganese, fibre, and other phytonutrients. Consider this as a blessing for vegetarians, and how important it is to include amaranth in your grocery list for a healthy lifestyle.
In regards to the versatility of this superfood, I have a couple of ideas. Mom used to make puffed amaranth kheer, and she use to serve it hot. Amaranth parantha and potato amaranth patties with lots of coriander, these were other two of my favourite dishes. Then cookies and pancakes, pudding and porridge, so many dishes can be made.
For today, I am using puffed amaranth seeds along with another five power-packed seeds and binding them using organic jaggery. So no refined sugar.
Try puffing amaranth seeds, it’s so much exciting. They behave like popcorns in a hot wok. Which can be a great snack by itself. A guilt-free nutritious and yummy snack.
In the above two images, you can see the texture. I am taking you through how to puff amaranth and it’s super easy and quick to prepare.
HOW TO PUFF AMARANTH
It’s easier to make puffed amaranth.
Use a heavy base high pot or (a big thick bottomed wok works well too) simply to avoid too many popped amaranth seeds shooting all over the place.
The temperature has to be “PERFECT” so all the seeds immediately puff but none burn. Try puffing a tiny bit, until you find the perfect temperature of your flame.
Remember – Too hot and they all pop but also all burn before you wink your eye. Not hot enough and they don’t pop but just burn.
A good clue I can give you here is- when you feel that the wok is hot enough, add only two to three seeds, if they pop immediately you are good to go with rest of the batch.
Make sure you roast amaranth in tiny batches. Add a spoon full of amaranth seed to the hot wok, keep stirring and it starts to puff up immediately. Once you see they start to pop, take the wok away from the flame (or turn off the flame) and keep stirring then, quickly transfer them to another clean bowl.
Important is to keep the seeds moving to the hot spots of the bottom of the wok, so they pop evenly
Do not use a lid, to prevent steam building up in the dry pot so no lid! The bad thing about this is, some seeds jump right out of the pot. The good thing, you keep an eye on your seeds and get them to pop beautifully.
You can eat popped amaranth just like that. They make a delicious guilt-free snack.
The seeds we are using today along with puffed amaranth will need to be roasted separately, as they vary in temperature and the amount of time required for each.
Once you have roasted all the seeds and amaranth, its time to get to the jaggery. I have used jaggery powder. If you don’t find it, you can go ahead with regular jaggery. You will need to chop it or grate it into tiny bits for even melting.
The length of time you cook the jaggery with determining the crunchiness of the bars.
2 cups of puffed amaranth seeds
3 tablespoons of roasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons of roasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons of roasted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons of roasted flax seeds
2 tablespoons of roasted melon seeds
3/4th cup jaggery powder
Truefarm Foods Organic Jaggery Powder, 500g
pinch of salt
Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a heavy bottomed pan, add 2 spoons of water and add the jaggery and the pinch of salt. Stir until the jaggery is melted and there are no more lumps remaining.
Place the pan on low heat and keep stirring it continuously. The mixture will start to bubble and thicken gradually.
We need to cook the jaggery syrup until the desired consistency is reached.
Tip: To check if the jaggery has reached the required consistency, put a small amount of the syrup in a small bowl filled with water. The syrup should come together to form a ball. If you drop it on the kitchen countertop, it should sound like a stone.
After this stage, the jaggery syrup needs to be cooked for few more seconds and then turn off the flame.
Quickly add the roasted seeds and puffed amaranth and stir. Combine well.
Transfer the amaranth mixture to the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly with an offset spatula.
Let cool for 15 minutes.
Once the brittle is cool enough to handle, remove from the baking dish and cut into bars using a sharp knife.Lightly oil the surface of the spatula so the prepared mix doesn’t stick.
The bars will need more cooling time on a wire rack. Enjoy and remember to keep them in an airtight container wrapped separately.