From the recipe archives - originally posted in December 2010, fully updated in March 2012.
It's time to up the number of buckwheat recipes on Nami-Nami - and I think this beautiful porridge kasha recipe fits the bill nicely. The inspiration for this recipe is from Rose Elliot's book Learning to Cook Vegetarian, and if you love buckwheat and you love beets, then you must try this! It's best served hot, but if you have any leftovers, then this is also an excellent lunch box dish.
A note about buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum). It's a pseudograin, and not a member of the cultivated grasses (Graminaceae) to which most grain cereals belong. Buckwheat is closely related to sorrel and rhubarb. It's native to central Asia - buckwheat was domesticated in China or India some 1000 years ago - and was introduced to Northern Europe during the Middle Ages. It's hugely popular in Russia, where the buckwheat groats are toasted to make porridge kasha and the greyish flour is used to make blinis that are famously enjoyed with caviar or smoked salmon.
Note that buckwheat is naturally gluten-free, so it's a suitable and tasty grain alternative to all those who need to avoid gluten.
Buckwheat with beetroot and dill
Serves six to eight
2 Tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250 g buckwheat groats (about 300 ml)
750 ml boiling water (3 cups)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
500 g cooked beetroot, grated
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
sour cream or plain yogurt, to serve (omit for a vegan meal)
First, you need to toast the buckwheat. The buckwheat we usually use in Estonia is pre-roasted and dark brown, so this can be heated on a dry skillet for about 2-3 minutes. If you're using the "light" buckwheat groats, then roast them on a dry hot skillet for about 6-7 minutes, until it's nicely toasty and aromatic.
Heat the oil in a large high frying pan/sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so.
Add the toasted buckwheat and boiling water, season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce heat and simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, until the water has absorbed and buckwheat is nice and soft (but not mushy!!!).
Fold in the grated beets and heat for another 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning, stir in the dill and serve hot.
Lovely with a dollop of sour cream/yogurt and some grilled (Portobella) mushrooms.