Friday, February 13, 2009

Miracle Foods: Buckwheat

I love the idea of miracle foods. It warms my heart to think that there are foods out there that will cure my ills, make me slimmer and put money in my pocket. Well, ok, I don't know of any that have claimed to make me richer, but the other two claims are pretty standard in the miracle foods arena.

Right now, whole grains are getting a lot of PR for healthy eating. Everyone is eating oatmeal, whole wheat bread. However there are other foods out there that may be better for you than the usual fare. Buckwheat is one of those. High in flavonoids, it is said to lower cholesterol, while the high manganese content causes blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure. Buckwheat has a low glycemic index, meaning that it does not cause blood sugar to raise sharply after eating, and there is some indication that the relatively high magnesium content helps in managing blood sugar. For more information, check World's Healthiest Food's page on buckwheat

If you have only been exposed to buckwheat pancakes, you may be surprised to find out buckwheat is not a grain, but rather the seed of a plant related to rhubarb. The blossom of the plant is very attractive to bees, and at one time buckwheat honey was widely available.

Other cultures use buckwheat far more extensively than Americans. Kasha, often made of buckwheat groats, or the whole crushed grain, is enjoyed in many Eastern European countries. Japanese soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour, and are delicious eaten cold with soy sauce and chopped green onion. Kasha Varnishkas is a traditional Jewish food- made from buckwheat groats and bowtie pasta.

We chose to make a sort of buckwheat latke. We used grated carrot, chopped onion, garlic and the ubiquitous "curry powder" for seasoning. The recipe is at the end of the post.

Chuck is the patty maker at our house- I don't like having my hands in gucky stuff.

He used his new deep fryer.

They fried to a nice color in about 3 minutes.

I ate mine with applesauce and greek yogurt.
Chuck said he would rather have left out the curry powder.

Buckwheat Latkes. Makes 12 hamburger sized patties
4 medium potatoes, grated. (Squeeze the water out of these to make it drier)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cup buckwheat groats, cooked
1 large carrot, grated
4 eggs
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 to 1 cup buckwheat, barley or whole wheat flour (may need more depending on wetness of the mixture.)

Mix all ingredients, in the order given. Mixture should be wet enough to hold together but not drip. Make into hamburger sized patties. Fry until golden brown.

These are good served with apple sauce and greek yogurt or sour cream, or with cheese melted on top.


Layla said...

WOW!! I've never seen these done & served this way...

We usually eat buckwheat kasha/groats at least 1x a week, as it's so quick & convenient to cook!! :)
/usually with homemade tomato/pepper sauce called 'djoovech'(đuveč) and sometimes tuna or eggs mixed in it, or just with fried onions + cheese grated on top, or fried onions+tuna - but I prefer added tomato sauce & some herbs like laurel leaf, basil, oregano/
Or sometimes we had it with pumpking sauce.. Or baked together with cooked millet and veggies (& egg/cream/cheese mixture on top) in the oven..
Some people eat it with mushrooms too...

Never seen 'hamburgers' made out of it yet!! :)

Looks interesting!!

Willa said...

I'll have to try some of your ways to eat it- although I am not fond of cooked tuna. The eggs sound good, and the fried onions and grated cheese. I want to know more about the pumpkin sauce!

Layla said...

No no, no cooked tuna!!
You put some small amount of oil (can be olive oil from tuna tin) into a pan & then fry some onions on that, then add a laurel leaf & tuna & sprinkle with some basil & oregano and fry a bit - just so it gets a bit crispy.. then just add the tomato/pepper sauce, as much as you wish..
I don't like 'cooked' tuna either!!

The eggs do get mixed into the hot pepper/tomato sauce though.. they don't stay whole, you use a fork.. We usually eat just bread with that though..

Pumpkin sauce - very simple - hokkaido pumpkins are best (sweet & yummy!! - ours look like these here: ) though Granny doesn't like them, says they're too sweet.. tastes are different..
You just heat up some oil, put onions on that, put pumpkins on that (hokkaido are best in little cubes & no tomato added, 'ordinary' edible zuchinni or such are usually best grated like apples, and some tomato sauce added, maybe a tiny bit of vinegar if you like it).. Then you add basil & oregano - voila!

Not sure if this makes sense, I really need to get a digital camera lol!! :)