Buckwheat is the easiest superfood you are not eating, yet. Learn how to make buckwheat with onions and mushrooms. It is high in essential amino acids and flavonoids. This grain-like seed cooks up in 20 minutes and re-heats well. Make a big batch for the week and breeze through weeknight dinners.
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“Try the porridge” Elly encouraged.
Food often comes up in conversation at work, especially around lunch time. One weekend we were talking about super foods. My Russian co-worker insisted that buckwheat is the key to good health. She actually eats it almost everyday. She even raised her son on ‘porridge’, as she calls it, to the point where he asks for it.
At the mention of ‘porridge’ images of gloppy, tasteless hot cereal came to mind. She declared that she was going to make some for me and bring it to work the next day. I
hoped she would forget and not bring any in waited very patiently to sample some Russian ‘porridge’.
What she brought in looked nothing like the gloppy mess I envisioned. Instead, this wonderfully toasted grain-like pilaf emerged from her lunch bag. As she warmed it, the savory and nutty aroma emerged from the microwave and I was greeted with a colorful bowl of superfood goodness.
The texture was light, fluffy and had a good bite feel. The flavor was wholesome and nutty. I was sold. I love Russian porridge.
What is buckwheat?
Well, it’s not related to wheat.
It’s actually a grain-like seed from a plant that is related to sorrel and rhubarb. It is gluten free, rich in complex carbohydrates and trace minerals. It was first cultivated in southeast Asia before it spread around the world. Russians are now the highest consumers of buckwheat. They eat 33 lbs per person per year. That’s impressive.
The buckwheat seed looks like a miniature beech nut. It tastes wholesome and earthy with a little nuttiness to it. Buckwheat can be prepared vegetarian or vegan too.
Toasted buckwheat boiled in water or milk is also known as ‘Kasha’ by Russians. This Russian recipe can be served savory like I made it below or sweet with the addition of salt and sugar, cooked in milk rather than broth.
The Russians like their buckwheat toasted to a golden brown before boiling it in water, milk or broth. If you can only find the pale, un-roasted buckwheat simply dry roast them in a pan over medium heat until golden, dark-ish brown.
What to do with buckwheat.
- Boil it in broth and make a pilaf out of it for a great, wholesome side dish.
- Use instead of rice for a healthier, lower carb version of your favorite Asian dish.
- Boil with milk and sugar and make a hot cereal out of it.
- Use buckwheat noodles instead of wheat noodles for a low-carb pasta dish.
- Make buckwheat sprouts to add to your sandwiches and salads by soaking and rinsing raw buckwheat.
- Make a big batch and freeze in 2 cup portions for quick, weeknight meal prep. Just thaw and reheat in microwave or add to soups and stir frys while still frozen.
If you are still not convinced to add this little Russian gem to your core recipe collections, check out this article from Huffington Post on the health benefits of buckwheat.
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