In Chaitra Navratri one does no eat pulses and flour. The replacements for flour are fruit origin Kuttu flour and Singhara flour. The same for the pulses is amaranth seeds called as Cholai.

It is known as thotakoora, Cholai, marsa, and tamri bhaji, in various Indian languages. Amaranth in Greek means “everlasting” or never fading.

In India, amaranth grain is known as “rajgeera” meaning, “the king’s grain”.

The plant is an annual herb, not a “true” grain. The leaves are used in cooking in curries and soups.

It is highly vitamin-rich and is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate and riboflavin. It is rich in calcium, potassium, iron (60% of RDA), copper, magnesium, phosphorus and especially manganese.  It also contains tocotrienols (a form of vitamin E) which have cholesterol-lowering activity in humans.

Cooked amaranth is 90% digestible and because of this ease of digestion, it has traditionally been given to those recovering from an illness or ending a fasting period.

It consists of 6-10% oil, which is found mostly within the germ. The oil is predominantly unsaturated and is high in linoleic acid, which is important in human nutrition.

It is high in proteins, up to 30% more than wheat flour, rice and oats. The protein is unusually complete when compared to other plant sources, containing a complete set of amino acids. It is high in lysine and methionine, two essential amino acids that are not frequently found in grains.  For people cutting down on meat, it offers a near-complete protein. It is low in leucine and threonine both of which are present in wheat germ.

Legumes (dal) are low in methionine and grains are low in lysine. A combination of legumes with grains forms a well balanced diet for vegetarians.  Common examples of such combinations are dal with rice; beans with corn tortillas, tofu with rice and peanut butter with wheat bread (as sandwiches). Amarnath being rich in both methionine and lysine is a complete food by itself.

It is high in phytosterols (beta-sitosterol). It lacks gluten.

It is high in insoluble dietary fiber. The fiber is three times that of wheat and its iron content, five times more than wheat. It contains two times more calcium than milk.

Using amaranth in combination with wheat, corn or brown rice result in a complete protein as high in food value as fish, red meat or poultry.

Its moderately high content of oxalic acid inhibits much of the absorption of calcium and zinc. It should be avoided or eaten in moderation by those with gout, kidney disorders or rheumatoid arthritis.

Reheating cooked amaranth is not recommended, particularly for consumption by young children, because the nitrates in the leaves can be converted to nitrites, as in spinach.

It can be cooked as a cereal, ground into flour, popped like popcorn, sprouted, or toasted.