Whenever I travel, it always seems like I don’t get to eat enough leafy greens. I feel out of sorts when that happens. There’s no leafy greens in burritos, none on the pizza or veggie burgers, which I had twice on this last trip. (I reserve the eating of veggie burgers for traveling only as most restaurants have them nowadays and I don’t want to overdose by eating them at home.)
So as soon as I return, I must have some greens. I’m a little tired of the usual kale, spinach and swiss chard. But at the Asian grocery store, I saw red leaf amaranth also known as yeen choy or Chinese spinach. Sometimes they’re also available at the farmer’s market; they’re in season from spring to fall.
The leaves are dark green and tinged with red. Like red swiss chard, when cooked it’ll color anything it comes in contact with a pinkish red. It came be substituted in any spinach recipe but I prefer a simple stir-fry.
Stir-fried Amaranth with Garlic
Serves 2 as part of a meal
1 pound of red leaf amaranth
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
Wash the amaranth in several changes of water, trimming off any old leaves and tough stems. Let dry in a colander or if you’re in a hurry, spin dry the greens.
Heat a wok over high heat until hot. Add the oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the amaranth and cover. After about 30 seconds it’ll start to wilt down. Stir bringing up the amaranth at the bottom to the top. Add the water and salt to taste and cover. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the stems are tender. Serve immediately.