One chilly day, not many moons ago… I walked into my local Asian market and found the most beautiful greens. I wasn’t sure of what they were called, how to prepare them, or what they tasted like, but I was certain that I must make them mine. I searched around for someone who might help me……. and when that failed; I turned to good ole Google. To my surprise this wonderfully gorgeous green had a name; Amaranth. In that moment I knew I was on to something huge. The leaves as you can see for yourself are incredibly gorgeous. They can be used as a salad green, or lightly steamed or quickly sauteed. The flavor is very mild; very much like spinach.
This Amaranth I found, is rich in antioxidants, protein, calcium, iron, and tons of vitamins. Amaranth is known to lower bad cholesterol, aids in weight management, digestion and helps to prevent electrolyte imbalance because of its supply of magnesium,potassium, calcium, copper, iron and phosphorous among other things. This beautiful find was also savored by the ancient Mayans, Incas, and Aztecs (now that”s sayin somethin).
In the picture above I rinsed them in cold water and dropped them into a warm Ramen broth (see picture below), then drizzled a bit of chili oil ginger oil, and scallions. I’ve added a similar recipe below for you to try. Find yourself some pretty red Amaranth at your local Asian market and add it to your soups, and salads. Enjoy it all in good health.
Chef Will Hall
Shiitake and Scallion Ramen
- 8 ounces of fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (two 3.5-ounce packages will be fine)
- 3-ounce package of chicken or chicken mushroom flavored ramen noodles with packet
- ½ cup finely chopped scallions, plus additional for serving
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed, canola, or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Black pepper
- Soy sauce or tamari
- black sesame seeds (optional)
- Soak the ramen noodles in a bowl of warm water for at least 5 minutes to soften them; drain.
- Heat the oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the sliced shiitakes and the flavoring packet from the ramen noodles and stir-fry until the mushrooms begin to take on a golden brown color. Season with pepper; remove from the pan to a plate.
- To the skillet or wok add the butter and the noodles; toss for 1 minute. Add the shiitake mushrooms and toss again for another minute, adding the pinch of red pepper flakes, additional black pepper, and a pinch of black sesame seeds (if using).
- Remove from the heat and add several dashes of soy sauce or tamari. Garnish with additional scallions and serve.
Servings: 1-2 (makes 3½ cups)
The 12 Health Benefits of Eating Amaranth Leaves. (n.d.). Retrieved January 21, 2015, from http://www.innovateus.net/health/12-health-benefits-eating-amaranth-leaves
Shiitake and scallion ramen. (n.d.). Retrieved January 21, 2015, from http://kitchenserendipity.com/2014/04/15/shiitake-and-scallion-ramen/