A pseudocereal, amaranth is underestimated and not-so-popular. On the other hand, its American cousin quinoa is a rage, here in India too. Amaranth, meaning “one that never dies, is certainly equally beneficial, if not more. Many ethnic communities in North India have been using it in their therapeutic and fasting foods. Roasted amaranth seeds, a rich source of B complex, Lysin, were dipped in yogurt and consumed for curing acidity and oral ulcers. Roasted seeds mixed with jaggery were given as the perfect nutritious sweet dish while fasting. Amaranth kheer and amaranth panjiri are some of the fasting food staples in North India. In Central India, the seed is lovingly called Ram dana, food of the gods.
Labneh Amaranth Kebabs
For outer covering
Potatoes (boiled, peeled and mashed) 6
Bread slices (slightly moist) 3
Salt, a pinch
Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
Mash all these ingredients into a smooth dough and divide into 12 balls
For the filling
Amaranth (popped) 2 tbsp
Labneh or greek hung yogurt 1 cup
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Chat masala 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Bread crumbs to coat
Oil for frying 1 cup
Flatten the potato balls and place the filling in the centre. Roll them back into smooth round balls, slightly flatten them and coat with bread crumbs. When all the ingredients are well-cooked, we just need to fry them in hot oil for 10-20 seconds. The healthy and savoury balls can be cooked in an air fryer too. The crunch of puffed amaranth seeds comes as a fabulous surprise in the mouth. Labneh gives a fabulous creamy and tangy twist to the kebabs.
Amaranth seeds (puffed) 1 cup
Cashewnuts 1/2 cup
Almonds 1/2 cup
Red raisins 1/4 cup
Coriander seeds 1/2 cup
Dry ginger powder (sonth) 1 tbsp
Nutmeg powder, a pinch (add more if you like its pungent flavour)
Edible gum 1 tbsp
Unbleached sugar 1 cup
To pop the amaranth seeds, take a hot wok, which is easy to handle. Pour one tablespoon at a time and they are done within fraction of a second. Take care not to burn them. Cool the seeds and crush them lightly. Take one ladleful of desi ghee. One by one, gently fry the cashewnuts, almonds, red raisins and edible gum, which gives texture and body to the panjiri. Crush all these to a rough powder. To the remaining ghee, add a tablespoon of sonth and lightly grated nutmeg and turn off the flame. Lightly dry roast coriander seeds and powder them. Add slightly powdered unbleached sugar, if you do not like too much crunch. Add all the readied ingredients to the wok and mix it thoroughly.
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