What to Do With Amaranth Greens

Red Amaranth with Garlic and Oyster Sauce
Spicy Amaranth
Four Other Serving Suggestions

Red amaranth, called hin choy in Chinese, is also known as Chinese spinach. It shares no familial ties to spinach, but, as Rosa Lo San Ross, in her book, Beyond Bok Choy, explains, it “tastes a little like spinach, but has more texture and body and a flavor of the earth. Both stems and leaves have a slightly rough texture but are completely edible.” The smallest leaves can be eaten raw as a salad green, though it is most commonly cooked, either by quickly stir frying the green, tossing some of the chopped leaves into a soup, or adding steamed and chopped amaranth greens as an ingredient in sauces.
Red amaranth is loaded with vitamins A and C, and iron, calcium and quite a bit of protein for a leafy green. However, the plant is also relatively high in oxalic acid, which can inhibit absorption of calcium. And it apparently can produce harmful nitrites, if cooked amaranth greens are reheated. Here’s a fuller description of the nutritional merits and demerits of red amaranth.

Red Amaranth with Garlic and Oyster Sauce [top]

1 bunch red amaranth
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

1. Wash amaranth and shake dry. Discard lower stems which may be tough. Pick leaves and cut tender stems into bite-sized pieces.

2. Heat oil in a wok and fry the garlic on low heat, stirring until it is pale golden. Add the amaranth, increase heat to medium and toss with a spatula until the leaves are wilted.

3. Add oyster sauce and sugar, cover with lid and allow to steam for a minute or two. Meanwhile, combine cornflour with 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl. Stir into liquid in pan until it boils and thickens. Serve at once with steamed rice.

Source: Encylopedia of Asian Food

Spicy Amaranth [top]

1 pound red amaranth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lime juice

1. Wash the amaranth well, discarding any tough stalk ends, and tear into large pieces.

2. Heat the oil in a wok, add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno and toss for about 10 seconds. Add the other spices and stir for several more seconds, then add the amaranth, salt, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir fry until the amaranth starts to wilt. Remove from heat and serve.

Source: Beyond Bok Choy

Four Miscellaneous Serving Suggestions [top]

  • Add chopped red amaranth to vegetable curries, a common practice in India and Sri Lanka.
  • Mix  a pound of steamed, drained and chopped amaranth with 1 pound of ricotta cheese, 1 beaten egg, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
  • Mix finely chopped raw amaranth with chopped onion, slightly beaten eggs, and a little salt, then fry as an omelet.
  • Add steamed, drained and chopped amaranth to tomato sauce and serve with pasta. Or mix the steamed amaranth greens in a blender with minced garlic, parsley, basil, oregano, tomato sauce, and some tomato paste, then use this mixture as one of the layers in a lasagna.

Source: adapted from  Unusual Vegetables