My father raised buckwheat on one of our fields, but I did not know it wasn’t a grain until I was in college. It is actually related to rhubarb. The only buckwheat we had at home was buckwheat pancakes made with buckwheat flour, so my ignorance was understandable.
Buckwheat grows well in cool northern regions which probably explains why it used to be a popular crop in northern Wisconsin. The seeds are milled into the flour that we encounter in buckwheat pancakes, blintzes and other delicacies. Here is a good recipe for raised buckwheat pancakes. While I still love buckwheat pancakes, I now feel the same way about kasha.
Kasha is made with buckwheat groats, which means that the seeds have been cracked into pieces but not ground into flour. Kasha is especially good with steak, but it is also a flavorful alternative to potatoes as a side dish served with roasts.
Kasha is an excellent adIttion to your diet. It is very high in dietary fiber and is relatively low on the Glycemic Index, One cup of cooked kasha has 9.6 grams.of fiber. and 18 grams of carbohydrates, about half the carbs in a cup of mashed potatoes.
1 cup buckwheat groats
2 T butter
2 cups chicken stock or canned broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper or more to taste
Put the butter in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Melt the butter over low heat. Beat the egg in a small mixing bowl until it is lemon yellow. Add the groats and mix thoroughly with a fork. Put them in the skillet and use a fork to separate the grains. Add a little more butter if necessary.
When the grains are mostly separated and lightly toasted, add the chicken stock, salt and pepper. Raise the heat, stir and bring to boiling. Reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until the stock is absorbed and the buckwheat groats are tender.
NOTES: Traditional kasha does not have mushrooms in it, but we occasionally add some shiitake mushrooms for a different flavor.
Most food coops and whole foods store sell buckwheat groats and you may find them in the specialty foods section of your local supermarket.