Superfood- a relatively new term that has been doing rounds in the circles of foodies and health freaks. Though, officially such term does not find its existence in the parlance of dieticians and nutritionist, it does its job of describing food items or ingredients that hold great nutritional value.
The new age marketing may prompt the addition of a particular food to the ever increasing list of superfoods. However, much before the advent of this term, Indian culinary scene has been replete with numerous such grains, cereals, seeds, fruits and vegetables that can easily qualify in the bracket of Superfood-Rajgira being one of such superfoods.
Rajgira (or Ramdana) also known as Amaranth Seeds is a popular food choice for Hindus during days of fasting. Falling under non-cereal food category is one of the primary reasons why Rajgira is such highly favored during fasts. Another reason that stands in Rajgira’s favor is it being high in nutrition- Rajgira is rich in calcium, protein and amino acids. It’s a rich source of Iron, magnesium and Vitamin A, B and C.
In fact, if we compare Rajgira to the one of the leading contenders in the super food battle i.e. Quinoa, difference between these two is palpable-One cup of cooked amaranth has 251 calories and 46 grams of total carbohydrates, compared to quinoa with 222 calories and 40 grams of carbs. Amaranth has 9 grams of protein in a 1-cup serving, while quinoa has 8 grams. both grains are rich sources of magnesium and zinc. They also supply a boost of iron, but amaranth has two times more than quinoa. A striking difference between the two seeds come in form of their price. Amaranth Seeds is available at half the price compared to Quinoa. Hence choosing Amaranth Seeds over Quinoa should really be a no-brainer (adapted from link)
Looking into history, one can trace its roots to Aztec tribe. Amaranth Seeds not only formed as a staple food of Aztec tribe, it also formed a part of their religious ceremonies. With Spanish invasion of Aztecs, Amaranth Seeds temporarily lost its significance to reemerge later. It began to be researched in American research labs in 1970 and was again cultivated in thousand acres of lands.
Called as most nutritious grain in the world, Amaranth grows in abundance in India- from Himalayas, plains of north, south and central India and coastlines of west, east and south of country.
Quite peculiarly, we have restricted usage of Rajgira seeds to days of fasts and festivities. Knowing its tremendous health benefits, I hope more and more people start including Rajgira in their everyday diets.
Rajgira is often used to make dishes like-Rajgira seeds Ladoos, puffed Rajgira added in Kheer, rotis and parathas from Rajgira flour.
Rajgira Ladoos can be made in bulk and stored in an air-tight container. It can be a healthy munching choice for your kids. This Makar Sankranti, we decided to make Ladoos with this superfood. Make these crisp, delicious and healthy Rajgira Ladoos and share your feedback with us in comment section below.
- 1 Cup=200 gms Rajgira/Amaranth Seeds
- ¼th Cup=50gms Peanuts
- 2-3 tbsp Ghee
- 1 Cup=200 gms Jaggery (Chikki variety)
- Heat a large pan. Put Peanuts in it. Roast peanuts on medium-high heat until it becomes evenly browned.
- We have roasted peanuts for 3-4 mins and it has now become evenly brown. Remove roasted peanuts in a large plate and allow it to cool down completely. Remove its skin and crush coarsely.
- Now, we will dry roast Rajgira. Here are some important tips worth remembering while roasting Amaranth seeds.
- Amaranth Seeds begins to pop up due to heat. Keep stirring for even heat distribution. If pan gets too hot, reduce the heat to medium. Ensure most of the seeds get popped up and those that didn't pop up can be removed by passing through sieve. Similarly, roast remaining batches. This is the only time-consuming step in this recipe.
- Let the Amaranth Seeds cool down completely and then pass it through a sieve. We have segregated popped Amaranth seeds from the one that hasn't popped. These seeds that haven't popped can be grinded into a flour and mixed with wheat flour for your rotis.
- Melt 2 tbsp Ghee in a large Pan. Add chopped/grated Jaggery. Finer the Jaggery, faster it melts. This is Chikki variety Jaggery and is stickier than other variety. This variety of Jaggery is easily available during Makar Sankranti.
- We will melt it completely on low-medium heat. We have cooked Jaggery for about 3 mins. I am looking for crisp Ladoos so this is the right consistency of Jaggery. If we cook jaggery for more time, it may result into Ladoos of harder texture and are difficult to bite into.
- Now, add crushed peanuts. Ensure peanuts are not too finely crushed. Now, add roasted Amaranth Seeds and mix well. We will quickly mix the ingredients and turn off the heat.
- After a min of cooking, remove Ladoo mixture from heat. While the mixture is hot, let's quickly start making Ladoos.
- Apply some Ghee on palms while forming Ladoos. Ladoos get formed quickly while it is still hot.
- In these measurements, we can make 18-20 Ladoos. Allow it to cool down completely and then store it in an air-tight container.