Exotic Bulgur Wheat with Amaranth Leaves

This tangy and spicy dish is eaten as a simple meal in the Middle East. It uses amaranth, a leafy vegetable, but you could also substitute spinach or silverbeet.


  • ½ cup coarse bulgur wheat
  • 1 bunch amaranth or en choy
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Arabic seven spice
  • 2 small fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, quartered


  1. Cover the bulgur with tap water and allow it to hydrate for approximately 5 minutes while preparing other ingredients.
  2. Trim base from the amaranth and wash the stalks in the kitchen sink, using 3 changes of water. Cut into 2 inch pieces and put aside.
  3. Warm the oil in a large and deep saucepan and sauté the onion slices, adding the garlic when the onions are nearly cooked. Add the cumin, five spice and drained bulgur and mix well to combine.
  4. Toss in the amaranth pieces and drizzle with ½ cup water. Cover with lid, and allow to build up steam. Turn down heat and cook until the amaranth has wilted. This may take approximately 10 minutes. Note: Check every few minutes, mixing the contents and adding a small amount of water, as required, to prevent the bulgur from sticking to the saucepan, and so that it can fully soften.
  5. Mix in the chilli and allow the dish to sit for a few minutes before serving.
  6. Serve in bowls with a wedge of lemon for extra tang.

Serves 4


  • You can buy amaranth from a good green grocer. It is also known as en choy or Chinese spinach and easily identified by its interesting dark red and bright green leaves. It has a flavour and texture similar to English spinach but is related to beetroot. The bright red colour comes from antioxidants called betalains (also found in beetroot), which colour the bulgur slightly pink during cooking. Green amaranth is a popular dish in Greece, where it is boiled, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, and served with fish.

Per serve: energy 811 kJ (193 Cal); protein 6 g; fat 10 g; saturated fat 1 g; cholesterol 0 mg; carbohydrate 22 g; fibre 7 g; calcium 64 mg; iron 3 mg