Amaranth Leaves: 6 Innovative Recipes To Make With Chaulai
Image Credit: Sweet Miscellany

Amaranth is cultivated for its edible leaves, seeds and stems – all of which are used in various preparations and for different purposes. With respect to the leaves, the leafy green vegetable is typically tender, with a mild, slightly peppery flavour. Used in a variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, stir-fries or simply sautéed as a side dish, the nutrient-rich leaves contain vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and antioxidants. In addition to their culinary uses, amaranth leaves also hold cultural and medicinal significance in some regions, since the plant is known for its hardy nature and ability to thrive in diverse climates, making it a valuable food source in different parts of the world.

In India, the chaulai is one of the staple vegetables that are consumed as sabzis or added to dal and stews, where the leaves turn tender and creamy on cooking. When paired with deeply savoury ingredients, amaranth leaves tend to shine well and contribute a lot of texture and flavour to a recipe. Beyond the usual dishes that feature these leaves, creating unusual but delicious flavour pairings can encourage individuals to eat these greens more often during the winter, when fresh bunches of the leaves are available abundantly.

Chilli-Garlic Amaranth With Mushrooms

Image Credits: Oh Snap! Let's Eat!

This Asian-style stir fry of red amaranth, flavoured with chillies and garlic is an exciting plant-based take on a standard poriyal. Use a variety of mushrooms – pick from oyster, button, cremini or shimeji and add the amaranth leaves into your wok just when all the flavours begin coming together. Serve this quick dish over a bowl of steaming rice and enjoy with a fried egg on top.

Amaranth Falafel

A protein-rich recipe that uses a chickpea base and is loaded with fresh herbs and aromatics, adding chopped amaranth to the mixture adds colour and flavour. Give your favourite Mediterranean snack a wintery twist with amaranth leaves inside crispy falafels that you can enjoy stuffed into pita bread or smushed into a sandwich, for an easy and nutritious lunch for a weekday.

Savoury Amaranth Fritters

Image Credits: Eggland's Best

Similar in treatment to spinach or zucchini fritters, use lots of chopped amaranth leaves and mix it with some eggs, cheese, fresh mint, flour and any kinds of seasonings you prefer. Ladle the batter into a greasy pan and cook on either side until golden-brown and crispy. Double up the amaranth quotient in this recipe by swapping the all-purpose flour for amaranth flour, in order to make the recipe a gluten-free one. Enjoy the fritters as a light evening snack with a cup of tea or for breakfast.

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Jamaican Callaloo

A popular delicacy of canned amaranth leaves cooked in coconut milk, switch up the key ingredient with a whole bunch of fresh leaves. An easy coconut milk-based stew made with aromatics, spices and amaranth leaves, the callaloo is a quick supper recipe for those looking for a light, plant-based dinner option. If you’re a non-vegetarian, throw in some prawns or chicken for extra flavour and bulk.

Mexican Amaranth-Pork Stew

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A deliciously fatty and savoury recipe that utilises tender cuts of pork simmered in a broth with fresh amaranth leaves, this Mexican-style stew has a warm heat from the addition of two types of chillies – fresh jalapenos and red chilli flakes. Ideal to pair with rice or stuffed into tortillas, this juicy pork recipe can swap the protein with chicken or mutton for an everyday spin on the dish which can be made in large batches and refrigerated.

Amaranth-Rajma Sabzi

Image Credits: Sizzling Indian Recipes

Another recipe which is loosely inspired by the Mexican preparation of amaranth greens with black beans, this simple and herbaceous preparation of amaranth leaves cooked with onions, garlic, rajma and spices are the ideal way to get a dose of protein and vitamins with the help of a single dish. Eat this with rotis or rice on the side, and a bowl of fresh set yoghurt to make it a complete meal to enjoy after a hectic day.