Indian Food Recipes | Indian Cooking | Veg & Non Veg Recipes

Nutritional benefits of Amaranth

Amaranth greens are also called Chinese spinach. Amaranthus is collectively known as amaranth or pigweed. This is a cosmopolitan genus of herbs. Although several species are often considered weeds, people around the world value amaranths as leafy vegetables, cereals and ornamentals. The word is derived from the Greek ‘Amarantos’ – which means –“the one that does not wither” or the never-fading flower.

These species are cultivated and consumed as a leaf vegetable in many parts of the world. There are 4 species of Amaranthus cultivated as vegetables in eastern Asia: Amaranthus cruentus, Amaranthus bllitum, Amaranthus dubius and Amaranthus tricolor.

In Tamil Nadu, it is regularly consumed as a favourite dish, where the greens are steamed, mashed and seasoned with salt, red chillies and cumin. This preparation is called keerai masial. In Karnataka it is used to make Hulli Playa, Maggigayhulli and so on. In Andhra Pradesh this leaf is added in the preparation of a popular dal called thotakura pappu.  The leaf amaranth is called ‘bayam’ in Indonesia and Malaysia and in China these leaves and stems are used as a stir-fry vegetable and called yin choi.

Although amaranth was (and still is) cultivated on a small scale in parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, India, and Nepal, there is potential for further cultivation in the U.S and tropical countries and it is often referred to as “the crop of the future”.

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