Amaranth Yogurt Parfait is a healthy and delicious dessert for the summers.
Most of us know that Amaranth is a superfood. I have grown up having amaranth ladoo and chikki (brittles) which are made with popped amaranth and jaggery. Well at that time I did not know that amaranth is such a healthy grain. No wonder its called the food of the gods.
Amaranth is an ancient grain that has been in cultivation for about 8000 years. It was a staple food of the aztecs and was used in their religious ceremonies. (source wikipedia)
In hindi the amaranth grain is called as Ramdana (god’s own grain) or Rajgira (royal grain). Some varieties of amaranth leaves are also edible. The leaves are called as Chaulai in hindi, Chawli bhaji in Marathi and Mulai keerai in Tamil. Of these, the red and green amaranth leaves are commonly consumed.
I often make simple sabzis with the amaranth greens. Also, I add them to dals, like spinach dal or in sambar. I personally prefer them to spinach. In fact, while living in goa, red amaranth or tambdi bhaji as its known locally is so easily available all throughout the year.
In fact, a few locals had also given us the seeds, so that we could cultivate red amaranth is our balcony garden back home. Amaranth leaves are nutritious and also easily available in India.
I do use rajgira ka atta or amaranth flour during fasting to make pooris, paratha, kheer or roti. But the whole grain, I usually add them to our fruit salads. Sometimes if I get popped amaranth, the job is easier. I just have to sprinkle them on the fruit salad. Otherwise, I have to roast them in a pan till all of them start popping. Roasting amaranth is something I have learned the hard way. Now I know how to roast them well.
1 cup of cooked amaranth has approx 9 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. They are also high in vitamins and minerals. Amaranth is also high in lysine – an essential amino acid that is not present in most grains. Amaranth flour being gluten-free can be easily substituted in place of wheat flour.
I came to know about parfaits through a friend. Parfaits are layers of yogurt or cream or ice cream, granola, fruits and dry fruits drizzled with or without a sweetener. Personally we do not like the ready-made packaged oats granola or muesli or cornflakes. And this is a fact as I don’t have a single recipe for these ingredients on my blog.
I prefer buying and eating local and fresh stuff rather than going for these packaged cereals. Amaranth is grown and cultivated in India. so my preference is always for buying locally available grains and flours, then using packaged ready to eat cereals or imported grains like quinoa, which carry along with them plenty of carbon footprints.
This parfait recipe is inspired from the Kitchn. after making the parfait a couple of times, I decided its time I blog about it.
Since roasting amaranth is tricky, I am sharing the method on how to do it. Otherwise Preparing parfait is very easy. all you need to do is layer the yogurt, roasted amaranth, fruits and dry fruits one by one. Drizzle honey at each layer. Apart from honey, you can also use any other sweetener or just skip it altogether.
The parfait recipe can also be veganized, using a vegan yogurt like cashew yogurt and any other sweetener like jaggery syrup, coconut nectar, maple syrup or any other vegan sweetener.
For the fruits layer, I have added seasonal fruits – mangoes and musk melon. I always keep in mind to add less acidic fruits to yogurt – like bananas, mangoes, fresh figs, strawberries, apples, chikoo (sapota), etc when making parfaits or fruit raita. Mango and yogurt is a combination that is also recommended in Ayurveda. Both the fruits and dry fruits can be of your choice and as per what is available locally & seasonally.
Amaranth flour is easily available in western and northern parts of India. Amaranth seeds are available in the organic or health food section of superstores.
Two-step method on how to roast amaranth
1. Heat a pan or frying pan with a long handle as you will need to swirl it while roasting the amaranth. The pan should be considerably hot before you add the amaranth. Small portions work better. So just add about 1 tbsp or 2 tbsp of the amaranth seeds in the hot pan. They will immediately begun to pop. You will see in the pic below some seeds have already popped up.
2. Keep a lid partly covered on the pan or else the seeds start popping out from the pan. With the lid on the pan, swirl the pan so that all the seeds get roasted. The popped amaranth will get to burn quickly, so you have to keep an eye and remove when the majority of the amaranth grains are popped. In case some grains have not popped up, they will be roasted.
Remove the popped amaranth and keep in a bowl or a plate to use them in the parfait. If not using the roasted amaranth immediately then store them in a small airtight box. You can also roast all the amaranth in batches and store them in an airtight jar. Add them to your salads, smoothies, milkshakes or any dessert whenever required.
The amaranth yogurt fruits parfait can be served as a breakfast or can be had between meals too. They can also be served as dessert after meals.
If you like fruits the way we do and are looking for some fruit-based recipes then do check:
Amaranth Yogurt Parfait
- ½ cup full fat fresh curd (yogurt) or as required
- 1 small muskmelon (honey dew melon)
- 1 medium sized ripe sweet mango
- 10 to 12 cashews
- 15 to 16 golden raisins
- 5 to 6 dry figs
- 2 tablespoon amaranth seeds
- honey as required
- Heat a pan till its hot. Add 1 or 2 tbsp of the amaranth and allow them to pop with the method mentioned in the post above.
- Remove the popped amaranth from the pan and keep aside.
- Peel and chop the mango and the honey dew melon.
- Roast the cashews in the same pan till golden. Keep aside.
- Chop the dry figs and keep aside.
- Layer the glass or individual serving bowls with 1 or 2 tbsp yogurt.
- Drizzle ½ to 1 tsp honey or as required on the yogurt.
- Then make a layer of the fruits.
- Add the dry fruits and again drizzle honey.
- Layer with some of the popped amaranth.
- Then again drizzle with some honey. Repeat the same layers.
- Serve the amaranth yogurt parfait immediately.