Creamy Amaranth Porridge with Asparagus, Herbs, and Poached Egg

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Spring is finally here!

Today, I bought my first bunch of green asparagus of the year. For me, this marks the beginning of a new season. Some might tell me I have been “germanized”, but I quite like the enthusiastic welcoming of some seasonal vegetables here. I love to eat oatmeal, or porridge in the morning, flecked with some fresh or dried fruit, and a drizzle of maple syrup. But, this one I just made is a whole different game. The main grain used is amaranth, with some oats in the back ground. I used some typical south-east Asian ingredients, such fragrant lemongrass, keffir lime leaves, and a good amount of coconut milk to give this savory porridge a creamy consistency.

Amaranth is a nutritional powerhouse. It is high in protein, calcium, magnesium, fiber and potassium, and has been grown since the Aztec era, although sadly the Spaniards have eliminated it when they invaded the new world. It is luckily making a come back. It has similar nutritional values as quinoa, but at half the cost.

Make this delicious porridge for lazy brunch on a sunny spring weekend. You will really spoil yourself and your loved ones. Cheers!

Creamy Amaranth Porridge with Asparagus, herbs, and Poached Egg

*Note: Kefir lime leaves can be found in frozen section at any asian supermarkets. Lemongrass can be found either fresh, or frozen. If you can’t find edamame, use frozen peas instead. If using peas, add them to the porridge with the asparagus.

Serves 2-3

2 tsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 thumbnail sized ginger, peeled, and finely chopped
1 lemongrass, tender inner part, finely chopped
4 keffir lime leaves
5 coriander stalks, finely chopped
100g amaranth, washed and drained
40g rolled oats
440ml coconut milk
200ml water or vegetable stock
A handful edamame, shelled (substitute with peas, if unavailable. See recipe note*)
8 green asparagus, trimmed, and cut into bite sized pieces
5-6 ramp (wild garlic or bärlauch) leaves, finely chopped
Salt&pepper

To serve,
Coriander leaves
Lime wedges
Poached eggs
Sriracha hot sauce

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander stalks, and lime leaves, and cook until soft.
2. Add the amaranth, oats, edamame, coconut milk, a good pinch of salt and water. Bring to a boil, put the lid on, and turn down the heat to medium-low.
3. After about 15 mins, add the asparagus and ramp leaves. Turn up the heat to medium. Stir constantly for about 5 until the asparagus and amaranth are tender, and has reached a porridge consistency. Remove the lime leaves. Check for seasoning. Add some freshly ground pepper.
4. Serve with coriander leaves, lime wedges, hot sauce, and poached eggs on top.

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Roasted Asparagus and Poached Egg with Yellow Miso Hollandaise

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I’m sure some of you know I’m on Instagram. I resisted on using for years because I thought it was for people who can’t take photos. Ooops. Did I mention I’m not the greatest photographer in the world? Silly me. I ended up downloading the app a year ago and started using it once in a while, until it became a daily thing. I used to take photos of food and post them on Facebook, but I didn’t want to annoy people by posting too many photos. Instagram seemed like a perfect sphere for posting food photos without people looking at you weird. Plus I didn’t have to face questions like, “why do you always take photos of your food?” , “everything you post is about food!”, “oh my god Ange, you are obsessed!” XD

Anyways, I’ve started following chefs like Rene Redzepi and David Chang, magazines like Bon Appetit, and websites like Food52 or thekitchn.com. The photos they post are not only far better quality than mine, but sometimes I get inspired by the dishes they create. The other day, Momofuku (the famous restaurant empire by David Chang) posted a dish that perfectly captured spring. So, I waited until yesterday when the farmer’s market was open, to buy fresh asparagus, and recreate the dish from the photo. The miso is unusual in a hollandaise, but it gives a subtle umami kick to this classic french sauce. My kitchen lab rat friend yesterday tasted and approved so I hope you guys like it too. It probably tastes nothing like the exact dish you would eat at Momofuku, but I hope it’s close!

Ps. My sambar recipe was the winning recipe of the week two weeks ago in The Guardian Recipe Swap.  Needless to say, I was stoked! The coleslaw with peanut dressing was also printed in The Guardian this weekend. It totally made my day! 🙂

Roasted Asparagus and Poached Egg with Yellow Miso Hollandaise

Re-created by an Instagram photo from Momofuku.

Note: I make my hollandaise in a hand-held emersion blender. If you don’t own one, I guess you will need a bit more elbow grease than me. Just whisk vigorously while trickling in the melted butter. 

Serves 2

400g green asparagus (preferably local), trimmed.

A good drizzle of olive oil

A good pinch of salt

2 poached eggs (see here to learn how to poach an egg properly. And practice. From 1:49)

For the hollandaise,

100g butter

1.5-2 tsp  yellow miso paste

1 egg yolk

1.5 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (or substitute with lemon juice)

To serve,

Furikake (Japanese rice seasoning. Skip it if you don’t have it)

1. Melt the butter and whisk in the miso until well emulsified.

2. Fill a small saucepan with water, enough to fill about a quarter of the pan. Bring to boil and turn the heat down and keep it on a simmer. In a smaller pan (a double broiler), add the egg yolk and the rice vinegar. Whisk over the simmering water until frothy (Do NOT let the pan touch the water!). Transfer the egg mixture to a bowl or the long cylindrical container that usually comes with the hand-held emersion blender.

3. Trickle the melted butter into the egg yolk, either with the blender running, or constantly whisking. Do this until the butter is used up and you are left with a beautiful, silky sauce.  (NOTE: Always add the butter a bit by bit, otherwise you will split the sauce. Should this unfortunate disaster happen in your kitchen, trickle some cold water. Mine never split, so I can’t speak from experience, but I’ve heard that trickling in some cold water into the split sauce while whisking helps. But if you trickle in the melted butter slowly, a bit by bit, while constantly whisking or the blender running, you won’t be left with a split hollandaise!)  Keep the sauce warm.

4. Preheat the grill function in your oven to high. Fill a large oven-proof frying pan ( with water and bring to boil. Boil the asparagus for 1 minute and drain. Lay the asparagus on a clean tea towel to absorb the moisture. Wipe the pan clean and add the asparagus back in the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some salt. Slide the frying pan under the grill for about 8-10 minutes until they are nicely roasted. Keep an eye on them after 5 minutes though. Every oven is different.

5. Poach the eggs according to your method. Or watch this video  from 1:49.

6. To serve, place the asparagus on a plate, and place an egg on top. Drizzle with as much hollandaise you would like, and sprinkle some furikake on top, if using. (Note, by now the hollandaise might have cooled down. Just place the pan over simmering water again and whisk until the sauce has warmed and loosened up)