Quinoa, Amaranth, And Buckwheat In The Range

Amaranth, quinoa, canihua, and buckwheat are so-called pseudocereals. Pseudocereals are similar to cereals in composition, use, and appearance, but do not belong to the cereal plant genus. They are all rich in valuable minerals, trace elements, and vitamins.

What actually is quinoa?

In South America, the Inca grain has been known as a staple food for 6,000 years. The foxtail plant is extremely resilient and endures poor soil and dry climates alike. In 2013, the UN declared the year of quinoa, since the plant, which is related to spinach, could fight hunger in the world. Quinoa is very rich in protein and contains a particularly large number of minerals.

Quinoa contains more bitter substances than amaranth and should therefore be rinsed out well with hot water in a hair sieve before preparation. Then quinoa can be prepared similarly to rice with twice the amount of water in a saucepan. Simply simmer gently for 15 minutes and then let it swell for another quarter of an hour without heat.

Then pour a little olive oil over the prepared quinoa. This makes the grains less sticky.

What actually is amaranth?

Amaranth is also known as a staple food in South America, where it is called Kiwicha. The grains, leaves, and inflorescences can be used as food. However, the cultivation of both amaranth and quinoa was banned under Spanish rule in South America.

Similar to rice, amaranth is cooked with twice the amount of water. Bring the water and amaranth to the boil together, then cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Then remove from the heat and let rise for another 20 minutes. Alternatively, amaranth is already available in a cooking bag. The cooked amaranth tastes slightly nutty on its own and can be seasoned as desired. You can also buy popped amaranth, which is the perfect complement to healthy, nutritious granola.

What actually is buckwheat?

Even if the name suggests it, buckwheat is not a real grain either, but a so-called knotweed plant. It originally comes from the Russian steppe and in fact, buckwheat, or Gretschka in Russian, is an integral part of Russian cuisine. Not only blinis, thicker small pancakes, are made here from buckwheat. The small grains also find their way into soups, salads, or alongside meat dishes as a hearty side dish.

Buckwheat is equally suitable for savory and sweet dishes. It can be cooked in double to two and a half times the amount of milk, water, or broth. The preparation corresponds to that of amaranth. A little tip: take the buckwheat out of the pot to allow it to swell and wrap it in a kitchen towel; so it becomes even looser. Incidentally, this applies to all pseudocereals.

Pancakes are often made from buckwheat flour in Western and Eastern Europe. Called “Galettes” in France, small crêpes with fried egg and ham, in Russia as “Blinis” with sour cream, cabbage, and fish.

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