Amaranth Patties

by Jen on July 24, 2012

I’m always racking my brains on how to make whole grains more fun for our family to eat. As I was going to bed at 3 am one night, an idea struck! If I can make risotto balls (arancini) or quinoa cakes, I can do the same with amaranth! And because amaranth – much like oatmeal – cooks to a sticky consistency, it is a perfect fodder for savoury little cakes or patties!

Let’s talk about amaranth, a bushy plant related to spinach. Although its leaves are used in various Asian and Caribbean countries, its seeds are most commonly used as grains in Western culture. Amaranth played a vital role in the ancient Aztec culture, both in culinary and religious scopes. In fact, the emperor Montezuma collected the grain as tax!

As I was researching, I learned that the Aztecs made amaranth cakes, which symbolized the flesh and blood of their gods. These amaranth cakes were shared in a ritual much like in the Christian communion – a practice that horrified the Spanish, who banned the cultivation of the plant, thus resulting in it almost disappearing, except in a few remote areas of Mexico and the Andes.

Today, the grains are experiencing a revival, as more and more people are extolling the benefits of eating ancient whole grains and going gluten-free. Like quinoa and buckwheat, amaranth’s resumé shows a profile containing a complete set of amino acids, making it a complete protein. Compared to rice, wheat flour, oats, and rye, amaranth has an impressive 30% more protein.

As far as nutritional profile goes, amaranth is a very good source of magnesium and manganese; a good source of phosphorous, iron, zinc, and copper; and it contains a moderate amount of fiber, about 6 grams per cup! The fact that it is gluten-free makes me happy also (this recipe will give you a gluten-free crumb coating version)!

I find amaranth to be an acquired taste due to its strong earthy flavour, although toasting the seeds before cooking is said to mellow out its effect. I also find that adding an “acid” like lemon zest or a distinct spice blend, like curry, puts the earthiness in the background, away from the spotlight.

In my version, I used eggs to bind the mixture, and Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs with Parmesan cheese to make a crispy coating. Of course, you can make these cakes gluten-free by using GF Rice Chex cereal or other GF breadcrumbs! My fried panko-and-Parmesan crust complements the gritty, grainy amaranth inside – making these patties, with their complex texture and flavour, amazingly delicious!

I eat them sometimes with just a squeeze of lemon; other times with a side of aioli; but always with a side salad of bitter baby greens. Truth be told, my older child (she’s 5) pop these eagerly in her mouth like they were chicken nuggets. My younger one (she’s 2) wouldn’t touch this with a 3-foot pole! My husband gave my amaranth cakes a good review, even bigging them up to his brother, so I can conclude that the majority of my family enjoyed this!

Curried Amaranth Patties
5.0 from 8 reviews
Print
Recipe Type: Starter, Main
Prep time: 40 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
Serves: Makes 20 to 24 patties
This is an original recipe, tested in my home kitchen.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (275 g / 6 oz) amaranth
  • 2 cups (475 ml / 16 fl oz) water
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons Madras-style curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups (115 g / 4 oz) panko bread crumbs or any gluten-free bread crumbs*
  • 1 cup (100 g / 3.5 oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley (20 g), finely chopped
  • oil for frying, either grapeseed, peanut, or vegetable
Preparation
  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the amaranth in a steady stream, stirring well. Return to a boil and once reached, quickly lower the heat until the water reaches a gentle simmer. Cook covered for 20 to 25 minutes, or according to package instructions.
  2. In a small pan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lemon zest and curry powder to the pan and toast, stirring continuously for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. When the amaranth is cooked, pour the curry powder mixture to the amaranth and stir until combined. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Let cool until easily handled.
  4. Slightly whisk one large egg and add to the cooled amaranth mixture.
  5. In a breading bowl, mix together panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. Get your wet and dry hands ready for breading.
  6. With the one you will use as your wet hand, take about a tablespoon or so of amaranth (it will be quite sticky) and drop it into the breadcrumb mixture (it doesn’t have to be a perfect ball at this point). Cover the amaranth in breadcrumb mixture with your dry hands.
  7. Shape into a small ball in the palm of your (dry) hands, then lay it gently on a tray lined with parchment paper. Slightly flatten the ball into a patty.
  8. Continue this process until all the amaranth is breaded.
  9. Heat grapeseed (or your choice of) oil in a pan to 375 F (190 C). Make sure you have enough oil to cover at least half the height of your patties.
  10. Fry one side of the patties until golden, about 45 seconds. Flip the patties and cook the other side for another 45 seconds. Make sure the patties are not too soft. If they are, cook longer, another 10 to 15 seconds per side. Do not overcrowd the pan.
  11. Remove and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
  12. Serve immediately. Can be kept for later, but reheat patties under a broiler.
Notes

*For gluten-free patties, use Gluten-Free Rice Chex Cereal or other gluten-free breadcrumbs you can find at your local health or specialty store.

 

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I’ve never tried Amaranth but I love this idea – your patties look perfectly crisp and golden, a perfect salad topper! :)

Reply

Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) July 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Jen, I love these patties. I made quinoa cakes last week and enjoyed them so much that I know I’d love your amaranth version. So much flavor in these guys. I used a different base seasoning than you did but I also used Parmesan in mine. I know yours will be good. Will have to try these next. :)

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Sandra's Easy Cooking July 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm

As I am reading this my mouth is watering..:) those patties look amazing, especially because you pair them with that yummy salad. You done it again! Great job, yummy food, tempting pics!

Reply

Pia Bineau July 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm

This is making me so hungry! Great looking recipe (and photos, of course). I will have to try making these next week, since they look far to tempting to pass up on.

Happy cooking :)
-Pia

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Riley July 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm

It’s good to know that I’m not the only one that gets great recipe ideas in the middle of the night! These look scrumptious!

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Lisa (AuthenticSuburbanGourmet) July 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I absolutely love learning about new foods and you taught me something new today. Never had heard or worked with amaranth before, but now I will. These look simply divine and just wish I had one in front of me!!! Stunning photos!!

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Nami | Just One Cookbook July 24, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I first thought this is croquette from the similar look. I have never tried amaranth, but I have heard so many times from other food blogs. It’s nice to hear that your children enjoyed this unique ingredients. It’s so nice that you introduce various kinds of food and it’s something I believe in too. Beautiful photography and presentation as always Jen!

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Patty July 24, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I’m with Sandra, these amaranth patties with the salad greens make a wonderful meal for lunch or a light dinner;-)
I enjoyed reading all the information you researched on this ancient grain and your recipe sounds delicious!

Reply

Cass @foodmyfriend July 24, 2012 at 9:13 pm

These look so so beautiful. I’m with you on the whole grains. I try to hide them from myself too! hehe

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Raymund July 25, 2012 at 2:48 am

Wow another new ingredient to me amaranth, are they the same as quinoa?

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Choc Chip Uru July 25, 2012 at 5:41 am

These patties are incredible, what a wonderful ingredient to use :D
Lovely flavour!

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Reply

Eha July 25, 2012 at 8:49 am

These look so moreish and your curried version is so up the alley of my cooking. Here in Australia many people who now buy and use quinoa religiously still say ‘what?’ when one mentions amaranth: dare say that too will change within a year or two :) !

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Suzanne July 25, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Wow, what great looking patties of a grain I have never tried although I have heard of amaranth before but thought is was a flower :) You always amaze me at your versatile dishes that come from so many different cultures. I wouldn’t mind being a guest at your house just to see what cuisine we ate that day.

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Jennifer (Delicieux) July 25, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I’ve never tried amaranth before, but am always looking for new grains to introduce into my diet, and your patties look wonderful. Your stunning photos are making my mouth water.

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Denise July 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Wow, they look great. I made quinoa burgers at the weekend (I was until then a quinoa-burger virgin (though once I made a seed burger)), adding feta, parmesan, carrots, kidney beans and sweetcorn, plus herbs and spices. They were a delight. I will look out for amaranth – it is not obviously available in French supermarkets, but I hope to find it in a health food shop.

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Magic of Spice July 25, 2012 at 6:35 pm

What a great idea these are, and they look so delicious! I love your history and info here on this wonderful grain. I must admit that I have only tried it on a couple of occasions, but I am now inspired to try it again :)

Reply

A Canadian Foodie July 26, 2012 at 11:45 am

I have amaranth flour, but have never seen the seeds for sale. The patties look delicious.
:)
Valerie

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Roxana | Roxana's Home Baking July 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I’ve tried a couple of times amaranth and love the idea of making patties out of it.
Beautiful photos as always

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts July 26, 2012 at 10:39 pm

I have never heard of amaranth before, not sure I could get it here. But these cakes look gorgeous, and sound wonderful! Anything to make whole grains fun is a good thing!

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amy @ fearless homemaker July 28, 2012 at 8:51 am

oh wow, these sound wonderful. gorgeous pictures, too – they’re making me hungry!

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Nancy/SpicieFoodie July 28, 2012 at 9:13 am

Hi Jen,
What a great idea! I love these gorgeous Amaranth Patties. I never knew how healthy amaranth is, and it’s turbulent history. Thanks for sharing and educating me:)

Reply

the food dude July 29, 2012 at 2:22 am

Beautiful photos!

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Lan | angry asian July 30, 2012 at 10:05 am

i’ve never had amaranth before, but i have seen it pop up quite a bit lately. what could i use in lieu of the cheese, as i am dairy free?

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Donna June 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Some stores carry a vegan parmesan type cheese that you could use to get the same basic flavoring as with the standard parmesan.

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Terry September 25, 2012 at 7:29 am

I too have not heard of amaranth but thank you for enlightening me. This old Southern girl has just started cooking with quinoa…so I’m getting there!! Your photography is excellent ~ pretty photos!

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Didi March 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Does it need to be washed before cooking like quinoa?

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Jen March 21, 2013 at 7:24 am

Hi, Didi! Unlike quinoa, amaranth does not have the saponin coating, so you don’t have to soak or rinse them!

Reply

Nadia July 20, 2013 at 11:34 am

These curried amaranth patties look so good! What are the nutritional facts for this recipe? Thank you!

Reply

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