Imagine waking up to a cold day. You feel the chill but you are craving for something to break the midnight fasting, breakfast so to speak.
Guess what? Do you know that a bowl of porridge used to be the staple breakfast food all over the world before people learned how to bake bread in an oven? Oats porridge is a staple in the western world, as well as other starchy plants like wheat, barley, corn, peas, potato and rye. Rice is most popular in Asia and yam in the Pacific Islands and Africa.
Our vegan special porridge is made with amaranth and pears poached with saffron.
Amaranth is a native crop of the Aztecs in Peru. It is a plant which grows tall with medium-sized leaves and flowers. The flowers produce the grainy seeds. Some varieties were cultivated for grain in ancient Mexico, Guatemala and Peru. Today amaranth grain is grown in China, India. Different Asian countries include leaves, roots and stems in their food, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Undoubtedly, amaranth’s popularity since ancient times is because it is an energy food. Its protein content is high as compared to other grains like wheat and rice. On top of that amaranth is gluten-free.
Also read: Buckwheat Pancakes
And there’s more. Aside from the healthy amaranth porridge there are great toppings such as poached pears, pistachio and puffed grains. Pears are one of the healthiest foods in the world. Aside from regular fruit benefits of nutrients and anti-oxidants, pears are also low-calorie. And how about pistachios? Well, they are one of the few nuts that contain most of the nutrients that are required by humans for complete health.
One last thing, this recipe contains some of my favourite exotic spices which spikes up the taste of whatever they are cooked in. Cardamom is one of the world’s oldest spices dating back at least 4000 years ago in ancient Egypt and particularly used to flavour the meals of Pharaohs aside from its medicinal uses. Star anise is another ancient spice, used at least 3000 years ago in ancient China. It is used as a spice for flavour and is widely used in Chinese medicine. In the olden days, cloves were a treasured commodity prized by the ancient Romans. Like cardamom and star anise, cloves have medicinal uses as well as a flavourful spice.
Now, it’s time to get that porridge going.
- 100 gm amaranth flakes
- 250 ml water
- 250 ml non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
- 2 tbsp almond meal
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp Chai Masala Spice ground (or use 2 ground cardamoms)
- 2 small firm pears halved
- 1/4 cup raspberries (Fresh or frozen)
- 3 tbsp coconut blossom sugar
- 100 ml of water
- 2 inch stick cinnamon
- 1 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 1tbsp slivered pistachio
- Puffed quinoa and amaranth for topping
- Boil all ingredients (except pears) in a saucepan for 5 mins.
- Add in pears and cook for another 5 minutes until pears are tender. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, add porridge ingredients (except maple syrup) and bring to boil
- Reduce heat and simmer for up to 5 minutes until the porridge thickens to smooth and creamy texture, stirring constantly.
- Stir in maple syrup and turn of the heat.
- Spoon cooked poridge in a wide bowl.
- Top with poached pears, slivered pistachios and puffed grains.
- Drizzle few spoons of pear syrup on top.
Well, is your power-packed health porridge meal about to get ready? Incidentally, I don’t eat porridge only for breakfast, it is also nice to have as a snack. Moreover it is really great food when you’re a bit off the weather. Imagine, all those nutrients, not fattening and very easy to digest.