As you probably have read here, this is the part of my chikki making spree. Having wanted to make Amaranth squares for a long time, I thought this was the perfect time for it.
Amaranth, also known as Rajgira or Rajagra is a Super Grain (though it’s a seed and not a grain), is known to have existed and being used for almost 6-8,000 years, but it’s only in recent times that it has been shining to glory and year 2015 is going to be the year of Amaranth and likes! I have listed it’s long list of benefits towards the end of the post. Unlike lot of healthy food items, this one actually tastes really good too, and The fact that it’s loaded with protiens and all the goodness is only an added benefit.
Rajgira Chikki is very easy to make. This can be made either using the already popped amaranth available in stores, or you can buy the seeds and pop it at home, almost like popcorn, with slight variation. These are tiny seeds. I bought the organic version of seeds from the whole foods.
Amaranth seeds – 1 cup [I bought the organic seeds from Whole Foods]
Jaggery – 1 cup [preferably the kind used for making chikki. I did not have that on hand so I used the regular kind]
Brown sugar – 1 tablespoon
Water – 1/4 cup
Milk – 2 tablespoons
Ghee (clarified butter) – 2 teaspoons
Rose water (optional) – 4 drops
Rose petals (optional) – 1 teaspoon (for garnish)
- Heat a non-stick wide bottomed pan. Keep the lid of the container handy. When the pan is hot, add 1 teaspoon of amaranth seeds at a time, making sure the seeds are spread in one layer and not on top of each other. Put the lid on. The seeds will start popping right away. Check in between to make sure these are not burning. Once the seeds stop popping (which should be somewhere around 30 seconds to a minute), remove the seeds and keep them aside, repeat with the remaining seeds, 1 teaspoon at a time. 1 cup of seeds, when popped, will turn to 3+ cups of popped seeds. Keep it aside.
- Heat ghee in a non stick pan. Add crumbled jaggery, 1/4 cup water, and brown (or white) sugar. It’s ok to skip the sugar. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring as needed. Add 2 tablespoons of milk. keep stirring as needed, and simmer for another 5 minutes. The jaggery mixture will caramelize into dark brown color. You know it’s done when you take a drop of that mixture and put it water and a ball forms instead of disintegrating.
- Add rose water, mix. Add popped amaranth seeds to the above mixture and mix well. Turn off the heat.
- Grease a baking plate or any square/rectangle plate with a few drops of ghee. Transfer the mixture to the plate and flatten it. Sprinkle dried rose petals on top. Divide into squares using a knife, while the mixture is still warm. Remove the squares from the plate once cooled down.
And now for the benefits of Amaranth:
- Amaranth is gluten free super grain. It contains Lysine, an amino acid. This makes amaranth a complete protein, because it contains all the essential amino acids.
- Amaranth’s protein content is about 13 percent, or 26 grams per cup, which is much higher than for most other grains.
- It is A Source Of Key Vitamins And Minerals: Amaranth contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. One cup of uncooked amaranth has 31 percent of the RDA for calcium, 14 percent for vitamin C, and a whopping 82 percent for iron.
- It is s also a good source of fibre with 13 grams of dietary fibre per uncooked cup.