Rhinestic's Knick Knacks

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Buckwheat with vegetables

During my Russia trip, my group of friends and I kinda fell in love with a type of grain that is considered a staple in Russia. We had no idea what it was but I managed to buy a small packet of the uncooked version and the grains look like these:

In Russian, it's called grechka (гречка) and after translating the word, I realised it's roasted buckwheat (also known as Kasha in Slavic). And if you are wondering why it sounds so familiar... Well, my favorite soba noodles are made from buckwheat. =)

Anyways, after doing a bit of research, I found out that buckwheat is not really a grain but a fruit seed. Thus, it is perfect for those who are allergic to gluten. Buckwheat is quite a wholesome food and thus popular with vegans and the health-conscious.

I dug up more information about cooking buckwheat and there are so many ways to do it. Some vegans cook it with only plain water while the Jews have a fancier way of doing it. Since I wanted to stay closer to the Russian style, I got a few ideas from some Russian recipes and came up with my own recipe to mix the oh-so-Russian cabbage =P with grechka.

Ingredients (for 2 to 3 servings):

1) Broth A - 2 cups (I mixed 1 cup water + 1 cup Campbell's Real Stock beef broth.. Side note: I think mushroom broth will be an even better choice)
2) Broth B - About 1.5 cups (I mix slightly more than 0.5 cup water + 1 cup Campbell's Real Stock beef broth)
3) Olive Oil - About 1 to 2 tablespoons
4) Seasoning - About 1 teaspoon salt (to taste), dashes of pepper and cayenne pepper (I think Paprika will be more appropriate in Russian dishes but I don't have that in my kitchen)
5) Tomato paste - About 2 rounded teaspoons

6) Garlic - 1 to 2 cloves, sliced/chopped
7) Onion - 1/2, chopped
8) Cabbage - 1/2 medium cabbage, julienned
9) Carrot - 1, diced
10) Tomatoes - I used half, but you can used 1 whole, diced
11) White button mushrooms (or any type you fancy) - 5, sliced
12) Leaves from 1 stalk of parsley, chopped
13) 1 stalk of dill (just the leaves part..), chopped

14) Roasted Buckwheat (grechka aka kasha) - 1 cup, washed


1) With the stove set to high heat, add the olive oil to your pot, and once the oil heats up, add in garlic, onion, carrot and tomatoes. Stir-fry until the onion turns transparent.

2) Add in broth A, seasoning and tomato paste. Stir it up a bit to mix everything well, then add in the cabbage and mushroom.

3) Turn the stove to low-medium heat, and let the cabbage simmer for 10 minutes. I stir the mixture up at intervals during the 10 minutes.

4) You should be left with about 1/2 (or maybe slightly more than that) the liquid in the pot. Add in the buckwheat and top up the liquid with broth B.

5) Let the pot simmer for 15 minutes on low heat. The buckwheat consistency should look like cooked rice on the soggy side. If the mixture still looks very wet, let it cook for another 5 minutes.

6) Serve with other dishes and/or soup.

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