Amaranth leaves (thotakoora, cholai, marsa, or tamri bhaji) are a recent addition to my kitchen. I am an ardent vegetable lover who eats bitter gourd once a week faithfully without scraping its bitter skin off or without frying it. I saw amaranth leaves during one of my religious visits to the supermarkets. I decided to replace scallions and spinach with a stack of amaranth for this once. I liked what I did.
When I cookedamaranth, I had already washed it twice in running water. I removed all its thick stalks and cooked it in olive oil with garlic and onion chops. It tasted much like spinach (looked too) but had an underlying stringent or a strong taste that differentes it from spinach.
Health Benefits of Amaranth Leaves

  • Amaranth leaves are rich in Potassium, Vitamin C, protein, folic acid and other vital nutrients. So you can’t say you can’t toss off starch rich potatoes for the sake of potassium.
  • Juice derived from amaranth leaves are a good remedy for bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses.
  • Amaranth juice will give you a lot of essential amino acids and proteins. Children can be given the fresh juice with honey.
  • Include all green leafy veggies for cancer prevention and cholesterol management. Amaranth leaves and grains (rajgeera) have a magic on high lipids.
  • Amaranth would give you a lot of dietary fibre and roughage.
  • Amaranth leaf juice is a great mouthwash.
  • Squeeze some fresh juice and apply for hair loss and premature greying.
  • Apply the remaining juice on skin for acne and eczema.

This may not be all but I guess these are enough to stop you from walking out on amaranth leaves when you see them. However, some health enthusiasts say that

  • You should not heat amaranth leaves. (They say they release toxins when reheated.)
  • Avoid eating them if you are prone to kidney stones
  • And ignore them if you are allergic
Amaranth can go in to soups, salads, stews, and curries. In Indian cuisines, they can be cooked alone for a dry dish (taken off heat with grated coconut), cooked along with lentils or other vegetables in dishes like sambhar.
Look for spines and mud while washing amaranth. Don’t forget to remove the stalks¬†as they are difficult to cook. Wash in running water.

-Aparna K.V.