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Amaranto (amaranth grains) is a popular cereal used in Mexican cuisine, used in both savoury and sweet dishes. However, it's hard to come by here. What can I use instead? I'm not sure if it is a cous-cous style grain or more like rice.

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In today's global economy why sub when you can get the real thing: amazon.com/Organic-Amaranth-Whole-Grain-680/dp/B0052OMOTY/… –  Cos Callis May 3 '12 at 10:14
    
@CosCallis That's US Amazon, and I ain't in the US. –  ElendilTheTall May 3 '12 at 11:54
    
@ElendilTheTall: What about Amazon UK? –  nico May 3 '12 at 12:00
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TBH I have no intention of using it anyway - I'm asking the question A) to improve the store of knowledge here on Seasoned Advice and B) to increase my chances of scoring some books :D –  ElendilTheTall May 3 '12 at 12:01
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@ElendilTheTall, maybe if your profile told us more about you...like where you are. And just because you aren't in the US doesn't mean you can't shop from US Amazon. I have several friends who frequently buy from UK Amazon to get DVDs published for the UK as they are sometimes different from the US release. The wonderful thing about Amazon is they ship globally. –  Cos Callis May 3 '12 at 12:17

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I don't think it is close to either cous-cous or rice. It is less starchy than both. Also, it has a unique mouthfeel when you chew on it, because the tiny grains (1 mm or less) pop under your teeth.

I would try getting the real thing in a whole food store or an organic store, or also online. If you can't find it, in these stores, but can get other exotic grains, you can try quinoa or millet.

If you really can't get anything uncommon, I would use durum semolina. Wash it before cooking and cook it with fat to reduce the starch. Also, I would maybe cook it in more water than needed and remove excess water after it has been cooked and cooled, so your semolina grains don't form a creamy pudding.

Maybe tapioca pearls of the extra-small variety can work too, I am not sure because I haven't tried using them and don't know what their final texture is.

You will notice that, when suggesting replacements, I am most worried about texture. The reason is that the flavor of amaranth is very faint and bland. It is best used as a base for other, strong flavors. So you can use anything with the right texture, the flavor in the dish should come from spices and other components.

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Tiny grains that have a bit of a pop. Have you tried quinoa? That might be an acceptable substitution. –  Martha F. May 8 '12 at 14:19

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