Amaranthus sp.

The name in Portuguese, caruru, is also used to name an okra- based dish from the Northeast region which, curiously, does not include amaranth as an ingredient. It is a green leafy vegetable with purplish veins, similar to African blue basil. It can be sautéed, fried, added to soups, fillings, farofas (seasoned manioc flour), frittatas, and used to make tea. The seeds are high in protein and, once roasted, are a good addition to breads. Easy to cultivate anywhere in Brazil, this tropical herb is known by several names, both in Portuguese and in English − pigweed, Chinese spinach, red leaf amaranth, common tumbleweed − and is more easily found in the Northeastern tables, especially in Bahia. As a medicinal herb, it is said to fight infections and liver problems.