Buckwheat (Kasha)

Buckwheat (Kasha)

I like buckwheat (Kasha). I basically had no choice but to like it since I had grown up in a Russian family. Russia is the #1 producer and consumer of buckwheat in the world. “Kasha” or “Kаша” as it is referred to in Russian is more than just buckwheat though. Russians will refer to any porridge as Kasha. Back in 1990s when the Soviet Union collapsed and everything was in total chaos, buckwheat saved my family from starvation. We had nothing to eat but buckwheat for over a week. I have to admit that after a week of the “buckwheat detox/fasting/cleansing program” I did not want to see or smell anything even vaguely similar to buckwheat for a while. But this was a long time ago. Now I enjoy buckwheat Kasha with my family fairly often.

Buckwheat is not really a grain even though many people think it is. It is not related to wheat, thus gluten free. It is actually a seed rich in a number of minerals such as manganese, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus. Buckwheat is a great source of B-vitamins as well as soluble and insoluble fiber.

You can get buckwheat roasted or raw. I use both in different recipes.

roasted_raw_buckwheat

I soak raw buckwheat overnight and rinse it well in the morning. I leave it to sprout for a day (rinsing it well in the evening and the next morning) or process it right away with bananas and berries to make what my kids call “Kashka”.

Roasted buckwheat has to be boiled. You use a 1 to 3 ratio (1 cup of buckwheat to 3 cups of water). I would recommend rinsing buckwheat before boiling. And check for occasional shells or debris. When you combine buckwheat with water in a pot bring it to boil. Reduce heat, add a pinch of sea salt, and simmer on low for about 20 minutes. My mom would also add a table spoon or so of vegetable oil (it used to be sunflower oil usually). But I do not add oil to my buckwheat. It is a wonderful side dish to any vegetable creation. Or you can eat it as cereal with some nut milk when it cools down.

buchwheat_kasha

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