Kiwicha, also known as amaranth or “mini quinoa” is a small pseudo cereal noted for its dense nutritional content. Kiwicha has been farmed in Peru and other areas of South America for over 4,000 years and was widely used as a subsistence crop. Kiwicha is now widely recognize and considered an anti-aging food due to its cumulative anti-carcinogenic, anti-hypertensive, anti-oxidant, and anti-lipidemic properties.
Kiwicha contain all 10 essential amino acids, making it an optimal plant protein for vegetarians. It is also high in the amino acid lysine, distinguishing it from other grains which typically contain very little lysine and need to be combined with other foods to make a complete protein. In addition to being gluten-free, it is high in fiber, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and manganese.
Kiwicha contains phenolic acids, carotenoids, and flavonoids which impart antioxidant properties. It also contains squaline, an organic compound found in some plants, which acts as an anti-cancer agent and may be cardio-protective as well due to its ability to lower LDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. A half cup serving of cooked kiwicha provides 125 kcal, 4.7 grams protein, 2 grams of fat, 23 grams of carbohydrate, and 2.5 grams of fiber.
3 tablespoons kiwicha (amaranth)
1) Heat up medium sized saute pan over high heat until it is evenly heated.
2) Place 1 tablespoon of kiwicha in the pan and evenly distribute. Top it with a glass cover.
3) Move and shake the pan around to evenly distribute the kiwicha. Allow the kiwicha to “pop” until white, roughly 30 seconds.
4) Remove from pan and heat. Repeat a few more times until desired amount of popped kiwicha is reached.