Quinoa has been ruling the superfood roost for last few years, and has indeed become the top superfood in demand even in India. Amazon, Big basket, Supermarkets, wherever you go, its very popular.
But Quinoa is not cheap, and also not easily available. But there are 3 popular Indian foods that are as good as Quinoa in nutrition or even better, and can easily be substituted for most dishes using Quinoa.
Amaranth - Rajgira or Ramdana
Another South American native like Quinoa and in fact from the same plant family, Amaranth has been in India for thousands of years and become so ingrained in our diet, that one of its names is Ramdana!
Both are pseudocereals, meanings they look like grains but actually are seeds.
Nutrition wise, bioth are power houses, with amaranth actually having more protein and iron than Quinoa, but less thiamine and riboflavin
However they are not exactly the same. Amaranth has a slightly stronger flavor while Quinoa is less detectable in meals.
Amaranth is also consumed as Chikki or Laddu, apart from as a porridge or flour to make Roti. Its Gluten free & vegan, so can be part of all your diets.
Sorghum - Jowar
Our very own Jowar, is a Superfood that we should take up before we take an imported grain. Sorghum’s mild sweet flavor can easily be subbed for quinoa in most dishes, and of course, we can use it for all our traditional Indain dishes like a flour and for porridge
Nutritionally, while it has similar protein content, jowar contains TWICE the amount of fiber as quinoa! Sorghum is loaded with nutrients. It is also especially rich in the minerals iron, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and zinc. It’s also high in B-vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, used to metabolize food.
Its completely gluten free & vegan. making it a great choice for a plant-based meal.
Bajra - Pearl Millet - Long grown in western India especially in Rajasthan and Gujarat, Bajra or pearl millet is a hardy pseudo grain which is also a great substitute for Quinoa, both nutritionally & recipe wise.
Both Pearl millet and quinoa are excellent natural sources of fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants, which help fight off disease-causing free radicals. However, Quinoa has a slight advantage in protein profile as Bajra does not have the amino acid Lysine. Howeer Bajra has more fiber and is easier on the Glycaemic index and better for diabetics and blood sugar.
But we can get Bajra much more easily & cheaply, and can use it in Roti, Khichdi, and various other indian dishes.
So, what are you waiting for. Try these Indian foods and see if you go local with your food!