Firstly, apologies for no proper, plated photo. These cakes had been waiting patiently to be served and by the time their turn came, it was all too hurried so there was no real opportunity. I am new to food blogging and am still trying to get to grips with cooking, serving and photographing, all simultaneously!
Yesterday morning, I had boiled amaranth seeds to make these cakes and then came upon this article in Mumbai Boss which extols their virtues; talk about serendipity!
The end result – most delicious cakes which are very similar to fish cakes in texture, requiring surprisingly very little oil and totally moreish.
amaranth seeds may be tiny but they can hold their own against other ingredients
This recipe does require a bit of patience and advance planning if you are going to soak and boil kidney beans.
Amaranth seeds, kidney beans, green peas and spring onions bound together by semolina are very delicate to handle and as you are shallow frying these cakes, you may start wondering if they will ever form a nice crust. But as I discovered, patience pays and if you let them cook for a long time, they will become nice and crunchy on the outside while remaining moist on the inside.
This is the second time I have used amaranth seeds in this way. And am feeling much more confident about how to use them in the future.
The following makes about 15 to 18 cakes depending on their size.
1 Cup amaranth seeds
1 Cup kidney beans
1 Cup green peas
1 Large bunch spring onions (about 10 bulbs)
2-3 Red chillies (adjust quantity according to taste)
1 Tablespoon sumac* (adjust quantity according to taste)
1 Vegetable stock cube
3 Cups water
Salt to taste
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Semolina to dust the cakes (approximately 1/2 cup but you may need more so keep it handy)
- First, prep the kidney beans (if using canned, ignore this step). Soak them for 10 to 12 hours and then boil them in some salted water till they are very soft.
- Next, cook the amaranth seeds. I used this website as a guide as to how much water I should use. The ratio of 1:3 (1 part amaranth seeds, 3 parts water) works perfectly. So, put the amaranth seeds in a saucepan along with the stock cube and 3 cups of water. Cover, bring to boil, lower heat and let the seeds cook for 30 minutes. You don’t need to stir. Once the seeds are cooked, take them off the heat.
- Wash and steam the green peas till tender.
- Wash and finely dice the spring onions. For this recipe, you only take the white bulb, not the green stalk.
- Finely chop the red chillies.
- Pour the semolina in a flat plate.
- In a big mixing bowl, tip in the boiled kidney beans, amaranth seeds, green peas, chopped spring onion, chillies, sumac and salt to taste. Bring everything together using your hands (it is easier than a spoon).
- Grease you palms with a few drops of oil and make small cakes of the mixture. Place these cakes in the plate which has semolina. Turn each cake so that it is completely covered in semolina.
- Once you have shaped all the cakes, put them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
- When you are ready to cook the cakes, remove them from the refrigerator. Dust them with more semolina if you feel the need. I did this and they formed a nice crust.
- Take a frying pan and grease it with a little bit of oil. You will need to use your judgement as to how much oil you require. I used half a tablespoon and it was more than enough.
- Heat the oiled frying pan. Once it is hot, very gently place the cakes making sure that they do not touch each other. You will need the space in between them to flip them over.
- Let the cakes cook on low heat for about 10 minutes before turning them over with a palette knife or a spatula.
- Cook the other side for 10 minutes. Once again flip them over.
- Continue cooking each side for 10 minutes till you can see and feel the crust form. Any bits of semolina in the pan will also turn dark brown (as you can see from my photo above).
- Once the cakes are cooked and the outside is firm and crunchy, transfer them to a serving plate.
- Serve with tomato ketchup or hot sauce.
- If you don’t have sumac, you can use the juice of one lime or lemon instead.
- The uncooked cakes are very soft so be very gentle as to how you handle them when placing them on the frying pan and during cooking (when turning them over).
- Don’t worry if they break a bit. Once they form the crust, they will become firm.
- I found the second dusting of semolina (after taking them out of the refrigerator and putting them in a frying pan) helped.