Three Ways to Enjoy Buckwheat with Vegetables.
“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”
I cannot really say that my mother served only leftovers. However, I inherited it from somewhere – there is nothing more relieving for a woman-in-charge-of-cooking than serving leftovers:-) I honestly enjoy it to the full. When I have leftovers of mashed potato I may add some salad, sauteed vegetables and a boiled egg. It may as well be hummus with some sliced tomatoes, avocado, celery and carrots. When I have leftovers of sauteed vegetables, I may cook rice or pasta, which takes under 20 minutes. After all, it is about serving it quick, tasty and healthy.
I had leftovers of sauteed vegetables, and decided to complement it with buckwheat. Buckwheat has always been our staple in Ukraine. I remember at times I hated it since it was the only available meal “for poor people”. So, I literally renounced to eat buckwheat. Amazingly, how we swear about something and then go back to where we started. Since then I tried lots of gourmet dishes of various cuisines, when I realized one day that… I miss buckwheat. The simplicity of buckwheat is supplemented by its incredible nutritional value. Somehow buckwheat lacks popularity in the United States. It does not look fancy, but I find it much richer in taste than overhyped quinoa. I do not say quinoa is not good. I simply find buckwheat more tasty.
Cool facts about buckwheat:
– It is not a wheat but a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel.
– It is gluten-free, which makes it suitable for people with gluten sensitivity or intolerance.
– It is rich in protein, containing the 8 essential amino acids.
– It is rich in iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc & fiber (source).
– It helps slow down glucose absorption, so it is good for people with diabetes.
– It contains two flavanoids, which support healing of the body and may inhibit cancer.
– Top five countries growing buckwheat (2011 estimate): Russia (800,380 tonnes), China (720,000), Ukraine (281,600), USA (79,554), Poland (92,985) (source).
Where to find buckwheat.
You may find raw buckwheat in bulk bins in health food stores. It is green to light brown. It has more benefits since it is raw. You can still roast it a bit on a skillet without oil. If you know an ethnic “Russian” or “Polish” store nearby, you may even get “boil in the bag buckwheat”. It looks brown. It was previously toasted. Instructions are on the bag, and it cooks very fast, like 15 minutes. You can also find buckwheat online. First two are delicious, and the ones I am more used to. I also started getting raw buckwheat (green one) from bulk bins as it is organic and grown in the US. It is similar to the third one in the photo. So, I alternate cooking both types. When you add vegetables, you might not spot much difference.
1. Russian buckwheat groats (brown, loose, toasted). 800 g. Click here to buy.
2. Russian buckwheat groats (brown, toasted, “boil-in-the-bag”). 8 bags per 100 g each. Click here to buy.
3. Organic Buckwheat groats (raw, green, loose). 16-ounce packages (pack of 4). Click here to buy.
How to cook buckwheat.
Use 1 part buckwheat and 2 parts water. Some cook it with more water, but then it would be more like porridge. Raw (greenish) buckwheat may be briefly roasted on a skillet without oil before cooking. Place it in hot boiling water, turn the heat to low and do not stir it. Simmer it for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat, set it aside and let it soak for another 10 minutes. Add butter and spices to taste. We also used to cook it in milk, but it is an absolutely different dish, mostly served for breakfast, which is not described in this particular recipe.
First way to serve it.
You may sautee vegetables and serve them on top of buckwheat. Most popular combinations are onion, carrots, sweet peppers, garlic, zucchini, cauliflower and broccoli. Cauliflower and broccoli are interchangeable. I had vegetables leftovers, and by the time I started writing this post I forgot the exact ingredients.:-) Going by the photos, I see red and green sweet peppers, light green squash (like zucchini), garlic, onion and some rapini. I featured rapini in my previous recipe. An old Russian way to serve buckwheat is with sauteed carrots and onions. I also described how to quickly sautee vegetables here.
Second way to serve it.
You may add some fresh vegetables on top of cooked ones. Avocado, tomatoes (cherry, ugly ripe, heirloom) and fresh herbs (basil) are perfect for that. Fresh cucumbers are great, too. Fresh raw vegetables help clean your palate, so you enjoy your buckwheat even more.
Third way to serve it.
This way came as revelation: serving it with soy sauce. Featured here is a recently discovered delicious Oriental blend “East Meets West”, a Marinade and Dipping Sauce. It is produced by a local company in Florida, Coconut Bay Trading Co. You can purchase this sauce from health stores or from their website here. I got mine from a local Nutrition S’Mart. I poured the sauce before I arranged avocado and cherry tomatoes on top. What you see on a side of the plate is another leftover – the most popular sauce from Tijuana Flats. Well, you already know how much I love leftovers.:-)
I hope you find your own way to enjoy buckwheat and its health benefits! Please share this recipe, and stay tuned for new recipes to come!
The Amateur Expert.
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