You're all familiar with rice, and many of you have used pearl barley, cous cous, bulghur wheat and quinoa in your kitchen. But what about buckwheat? Buckwheat flour makes an appearance in Japanese soba noodles, in French galettes de sarrasin, and in Russian blini pancakes. Yet I suspect that buckwheat groats are less common even amongst well-informed food bloggers. Yes, there is Clotilde with her recipe for Buckwheat Salad with Honey Spice Cake, and Gerda with a recipe for exotic Buckwheat Curry. But other than that, Elise's fabulous recipe search across foodblogs only yields recipes using buckwheat flour.
Yet buckwheat groats definitely deserve a place at your kitchen table, at least occasionally. They're unusual and different, hence interesting. Buckwheat is naturally gluten-free, the groats have a lovely nutty flavour and tender texture - and they're good to your vascular system. What's not to like!? Buckwheat porridge is widely known here in Estonia - either as a dish on its own, or as a side dish instead of potatoes or rice. To make things easier, you can even buy pre-cooked buckwheat flakes these days, which make a lovely breakfast porridge.
Here, however, is a main dish I came up with last week. I wasn't sure what to call it in the beginning. It's not a stew, as although it's moist, there's no liquid to hold the components together and warrant the name. It's not a buckwheat 'risotto', as there's no element of creaminess. So I decided to go with a 'warm salad'. I served it with thin, long slices of crunchy carrot, but some spicy salad leaves would make a good accompaniment, too.
A warm buckwheat and mushroom salad
1 Tbsp canola oil
200 ml buckwheat groats
2 carrots, coarsely grated
1 onion, finely chopped
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp black pepper
500 ml water
a generous handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp canola oil
300 grams of mushrooms (a mixture of champignons, oyster mushrooms, chantarelles etc), coarsely chopped
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the buckwheat. Stir for a minute, until the groats are glistening with oil. Add the onion and carrots, reduce heat and fry gently for a few minutes, until onion has softened a little. Do not burn!
Season with salt and pepper, add the boiling water. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the groats are al dente or tender, if you prefer.
Meanwhile, fry the chopped mushrooms in oil, until they're wilted and slightly browned.
Add the fried mushrooms to the buckwheat porridge, stir gently to combine. Sprinkle generously with parsley and serve.
Earlier @ Nami-nami:
Buckwheat and mushroom oven pie (September 2005)
This is also my entry to the Weekend Herb Blogging, this time hosted by Anh from Food Lover's Journey.