Potato cakes with popped amaranth and sweet herb sauce
Amaranth is one of the oldest and most nutritious grains known to man; Wikipedia tells us it has been cultivated for 8000 years and was once the food of the Aztecs. Available from health-food stores, it can be cooked just like popcorn. It has a wonderfully nutty but slightly bitter taste. A carnivorous chef goes in search of the perfect meatless meal that vegans and vegetarians will also enjoy.
|1 to taste||Salt|
|2 Tbsp||Rice bran oil|
|1 tsp||Ground cumin|
|1 pinch||Mustard powder|
|1 tsp||Ground coriander|
|1 handful||Fresh coriander|
|½ cup||Amaranth grains|
|2 cups||Rice bran oil|
- Peel then chop the potatoes and place in a saucepan of cold salted water.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes until fork-tender. Drain, return the potatoes to the saucepan and place back over a low heat for a few minutes to steam dry.
- Mash until light and fluffy then keep somewhere warm.
- Finely chop the onion. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook slowly until soft but without colouring - 5-6 minutes.
- Add the spices and cook until fragrant - about 3 minutes. Chop the coriander leaves and stir into the onion mixture with the chilli (seeded and chopped).
- Season with salt then mix thoroughly into the mashed potatoes. Using your hands form the mixture into small patties 3-4cm in diameter and 1cm thick.
- Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat and tip in the amaranth grains. They should start to pop almost immediately, just like popcorn.
- Pour the popped amaranth onto a plate and gently coat the potato cakes until well-covered.
- Heat the rice bran oil in a shallow frying pan over a medium heat and fry the potato cakes until crisp and golden on both sides.
- Lift out the cakes onto a warm plate lined with absorbent paper. Serve with the sauce on the side.
- To make the sauce, put the lime juice into a small saucepan and mix with the maple syrup. Simmer for 3-5 minutes then set aside.
- Put the basil, mint, parsley and garlic into a food processor and purée until smooth, adding the lime syrup.
- Slowly trickle in the oil, adding water if the sauce becomes too thick.
- Season with salt and pepper then pour into a bowl to be served alongside the potato cakes.