Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Buckwheat Kasha

Buckwheat is one of those things you find lurking with the other unusual whole grains in places like health food shops. It is not actually a true grain at all, but the seeds of a plant related to rhubarb.

Once or twice as a student, I had attempted to cook buckwheat by boiling it like rice, but it tended to just turn into an unappetising mush.

When I bought a rice cooker, I went looking for books on how to cook different grains in it. I discovered The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook. And therein, I discovered the secret of how to cook buckwheat without turning it to mush: just add an egg or two.

  • 1 cup buckwheat grains - green or toasted.
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups stock or water.
  • 1 onion, chopped.
  • a knob of butter.
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • optional: other things to turn it into more of a pilaff e.g. sliced mushrooms, frozen peas and sweetcorn, diced carrots and peppers, diced leftover cooked meat - whatever you have to hand.

If your buckwheat is green (untoasted) you can toast it in a dry frying pan over high heat. Toss and stir the grains in the pan continuously until they smell toasty and turn a shade browner. Remove from the heat and let the now toasted buckwheat cool down for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs. Mix the buckwheat into the beaten egg until all the grains are thoroughly coated. Put the bowl to one side for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the buckwheat has absorbed the egg.

Turn on your rice cooker to cook mode, and pop a knob of butter into its bowl.
Add the chopped onion and stir with a nonstick-safe spatula as the onion softens in the melting butter.

Spoon the eggy buckwheat into the rice cooker. Continue to stir with the spatula as the egg on the outsides of the buckwheat cooks. The grains will separate and start to look dry.

Pour in the stock. Throw in any extras you want to cook with the kasha. Pop on the rice cooker lid, and reset it to the start of cook mode again - e.g. turn it off and on.

Let the rice cooker run through its cook cycle, and then let it stand for a further ten minutes after it switches to keep warm mode.

Fluff up the grains. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Serve either as a pilaff by itself, or as an accompaniment to other dishes.

Categories: Russian Side Dishes Grains Buckwheat