My pantry is stuffed to the gills with all sorts of items that the average cook with raise an eyebrow to. In fact, I’ll bet I have a few items in there that the average cook has possibly not even heard of, let alone used. If you were my neighbor and needed something for a recipe you were cooking or baking, chances are I’d have it. Anything at all. Need some flour? What kind? All-purpose? Whole wheat? Pastry? Spelt? Soy? Buckwheat? Barley? Teff? Oat? Fava bean?
Need rice? Currently, I’ve got brown, basmati, brown basmati, jasmin, Thai black, rosematta, glutinous Thai, and Japanese short grain.
Looking for grains? Choose from white and red quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, sorghum, millet, and teff.
So, what am I saying here? That I am constantly looking for ways to use up all of that stuff! And so here is what I came up with to use both amaranth and some mixed dal I had. I could’ve just made a soup, but I wanted to do something different. This is what I came up with—Amaranth-Dal Patties. If you’re not familiar with amaranth, they’re tiny little grains that are gluten-free and high in iron and lysine. Here’s a link for more information.
You can season the patties with whatever herbs or spices you like, and/or dress them with any kind of sauce, from raita to salsa to piri piri (just make sure to pair the seasonings and dressing appropriately—you wouldn’t want to use garam masala as a seasoning and then dip them in Asian soy dipping sauce!). You can also substitute the flour for something that is gluten-free.
Also, for the greens, you can use whatever greens you like—chard, spinach, mustard greens, etc. I chose escarole. I also chose to pan-fry them. Some people will argue to the death with me about this but I’m going to say it and stand by it: Some things do not work when baked. I tried it. They were pale and bland. Sorry, but that’s the way it is.
So, give this a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Makes about 22 patties.
1 tablespoon coconut oil
¼ cup finely chopped shallot or onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup amaranth
½ cup mixed dal
2 teaspoon Indian curry powder (or other seasoning, optional)
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 heaping cup chopped greens
1 cup all-purpose or spelt flour (or GF flour)
2 medium eggs
Heat the coconut oil in a wide saucepan. Add the shallot or onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute another minute.
Add the amaranth and stir until all the grains are coated with oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the amaranth has browned a little, about 5 or 6 minutes.Add the dal and stir. Cook for another 2 or three minutes, stirring often. Stir in the curry powder (or whatever seasonings you want, or none at all).
Pour in the broth, add salt and pepper, and stir. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low.
Simmer, partially covered, until dal is tender (this could take up to a couple of hours). Stir periodically to keep it from sticking and burning at the bottom and add more broth or water, if needed. (The final product should have some liquid but should not be soupy.)
When it’s cooked, stir in the greens and cook a few minutes longer.
Taste for seasoning and adjust, if needed. Transfer to a medium work bowl and let it cool down a bit.
Mix in the eggs and flour.
Set a plate lined with paper towels by the stove.
Heat a thin layer of cooking oil in a frying pan. Place about 2 tablespoons of the mixture in mounds in the oil. Don’t crowd the pan. Flatten the mounds down a little bit.
Cook, turning them over once, until browned on both sides, about 5 or 6 minutes total. Transfer them to the paper towels.