Light, crispy, and packed with flavor, these savory Mexican-inspired amaranth fritters are a cinch to whip up for a quick meal.
Amaranth is one of the ancient pseudo-grains that made up part of the traditional diet of the Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas. Often, puffed amaranth is added to cereal, hotcakes, oatmeal, and cookies, but here, the seed takes center stage in this recipe as the main ingredient for a delicious savory fritter, perfect for a taco or on its own.
What makes these amaranth fritters awesome
Amaranth is a versatile pseudo-grain and when this popped seed is mixed with a traditional central-Mexican herb, the result is a delicious, light, crispy fritter that is easy to prepare, vegetarian, and gluten-free!
- Amaranth is naturally gluten-free
- This pseudo-grain is high in protein
- Epazote and sauteed onions pack these fritters with traditional central-Mexican flavors
- A quick and easy vegetarian meal, on the table in about 20 minutes
The trick is using PUFFED or POPPED amaranth
This recipe is pretty forgiving (a little extra egg or amaranth isn’t going to significantly change the outcome)…but the key for this to work is that you must use PUFFED or POPPED amaranth. If you use un-puffed amaranth seeds, your mixture will turn into an oily, horrible, unappetizing mess (trust me…I have made that mistake)! Living in Mexico, puffed amaranth (amaranto tostado) is super easy to find, but this ingredient might be a bit trickier to come by in the US. You may be able to source puffed amaranth online (I have seen it available on Amazon), however, if you can only find amaranth seeds, don’t despair, you can still make this recipe! You will just need to toast or pop the seeds first. Here is a great blog post that walks you through the steps on how to toast your own amaranth at home: https://greenhealthycooking.com/popped-amaranth/.
How to make these Savory Mexican Amaranth Fritters
Start by heating a small amount of vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and fry until the onion becomes slightly golden. This provides a deeper flavor in the final fritter. Add fried onions, chopped epazote, and puffed amaranth to a bowl. Add salt and mix thoroughly. I like to taste the mixture at this point to make sure that there is enough salt. Add oil to the skillet and allow to heat while you work on the next step.
Next, the egg whites need to be whipped until stiff. Once the whites are stiff, add in the yolks and mix until incorporated. Then add in the epazote and amaranth mixture and stir everything together. Use a spoon to heap mounds of the mixture into the hot oil and slightly flatten with a spatula. Flip to brown evenly and remove to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
I enjoy eating these in a warm corn tortilla and topped with a fresh salsa verde!
Savory Mexican Amaranth Fritters
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbs vegetable oil divided
- 1/2 medium white onion chopped (~3/4 cup)
- 1 bunch fresh epazote stems removed and leaves chopped (~1 cup packed)
- 3 1/4 cup puffed or popped amaranth
- 3 eggs whites and yolks separated
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat
- Once oil is hot and shimmering, add onion and fry until slightly golden, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove fried onion to a large bowl, add chopped epazote, amaranth and salt. Stir to combine ingredients.
- Add remaining 1/2 cup oil to pan and heat over medium heat. The bottom of the pan should be completely covered with a thin layer of oil, about 1/8 inch deep. Add oil as necessary to compensate for skillet size.
- While the oil is heating up, in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on high speed until stiff, about 2 minutes
- Add yolks to the whites and continue whisking on medium speed until incorporated, about 30 seconds. The mixture should be light and foamy in texture.
- Add the amaranth mixture to the eggs and stir gently to combine all ingredients
- Using a large tablespoon (I use the one that I eat with, not a measuring tablespoon), heap a mound of amaranth mixture into the hot oil. Flatten slightly with a spatula.
- Fry until golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip to cook the other side, about 1 minute.
- Remove cake from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil
- Repeat steps 10-12 for remaining cakes, adding extra oil as necessary.