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Feb 1, 2007 02:04 PM

Buckwheat (kasha) - any clue?

I have a package of whole roasted buckwheat (kasha) that's been sitting for a while. 500g/18oz. There are no cooking directions on the package. Does anyone have any good recipes that use the stuff? Thanks!

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  1. Pilaf it, like a whole grain.....saute onions, til browning and no more moisture coming off, put in kasha, pan roast, stirring until you can smell the kasha....add your liquid, and steam/simmer. Since yours has been sitting a while it may take more liquid, I usually eyeball it 1:1 (grain:liquid) add as needed, testing firmness. It is a hardy grain, with a deep flavor, pronounced, so serve it with stews, beef, etc. I think mushrooms are a great addition as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Quine

      I use egg yolk only. Sautee onions in schmaltz separately, while the kasha is cooking. (If you don't mind a little cholesterol, render your own chicken fat, and you have that great gribenes at the end! Directions upon request.) When kasha and onions are done, turn them together into a flat casserole and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, turning every five.

    2. I toast it first: lightly beat 1 egg. Add 1 cup of kasha to the egg and combine. Heat a sautee pan over med. high heat. Put the kasha/egg mixture into the pan and stir it until every kasha kernel is dry and separate. Add 16 oz. of chicken broth and 1 TB butter or margarine to pan. Cover the pan. Lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is absorbed.

      Sauteed mushrooms or sauteed onions are a nice addition.

      20 Replies
      1. re: CindyJ

        Don't forget the bowtie pasta! Kasha and Bowties is a traditional Jewish dish. Just follow Cindy's method (with the egg; you can use water instead of broth), and combine the cooked bowties (farfalle) together with the kasha and fried onions.

        1. re: FlavoursGal

          Now I'm feeling compelled to post my favorite brisket recipe, because what's kasha and bowties without brisket?

          1. re: CindyJ

            what's kasha and bowties without ketchup (I can hear screams of dissent) - that's how I remember eating it as a kid - I have had it more recently without the ketchup - still yummy - the onions are key to me

            1. re: pescatarian

              Do you put ketchup in your Kraft Dinner, too?

              1. re: pescatarian

                As much as I hate to admit it, when I was a kid, my mom would serve elbow macaroni with ketchup, and I'd gobble it up! I suppose, when you don't know differently, it's not so bad.

                1. re: CindyJ

                  CindyJ some of us in NY call that Jewish spaghetti which is really any pasta with butter and ketchup. I used to love it and at the age of two went through a stage where I refused to eat anything else for lunch and dinner for about a month. For variation I would switch up the pasta - shells were my favorite. And we did know better and my mother made a very good tomato sauce. I guess the ketchup was something she held over from her mother.

                  And, not good for a chowhound to admit but I still crave it, make it and eat it on occassion. It's actually a guilty pleasure secret comfort food for me. My husband cringes even though he grew up in Southern Maryland in the least food sophisticated house you could imagine. Even my six year old thinks it's gross. Oh well.

                  1. re: laylag

                    My childhood comfort food. Still is! With a glass of chocolate milk! (Why do I feel like I've fessed up to a deep, dark secret?)

                    1. re: howboy

                      I just looked at your profile howboy. Is that the secret comfort food you fear will get you booted? Just between us --- that's mine too and I was too chicken to write it although I did have it on my old profile as "overlooked by Chowhounds". : )

                      1. re: laylag

                        I admit it....We had a houskeeper when I was a kid who could make me do anything (usually, it was just to behave) by promising me spaghetti with ketchup and a glass of chocolate milk. It's still my go-to food when I'm blue. Gotta be Heinz ketchup, and gotta be Fox's U-Bet chocolate syrup.

                        1. re: howboy

                          Always Heinz - I'd never consider putting any other ketchup on my spaghetti - or on anything else for that matter.

                2. re: pescatarian

                  Ketchup was a staple to go with Kasha and bowties in my hous too

                  1. re: pescatarian

                    I always put ketchup on kasha - that is so funny and if there is mushroom gravy around I add that too AND the sauteed onions. Love it! I try not to eat the bowties.

                  2. re: CindyJ

                    Whenever I make kasha and bowties, it's usually because brisket is on the menu.

                  3. re: FlavoursGal

                    Made it yesterday. I used chicken stock and added some chopped onion also. I didn't have farfalle, so I used penne rigate, which I chopped up before tossing in with the kasha.

                    Very nice dish - it would go very well with a goulash or some other beef stew. Thanks a lot everyone!

                  4. re: CindyJ

                    This sounds exactly like the recipe on tha Wolff's Kasha box. You must do the egg thing. It is wonderful.

                    I like to serve Kasha with Roast Duck. It is a wonderful foil for the swett richness of the duck.

                    1. re: Fleur

                      I would say that the egg-coating thing, while traditional, is not absolutely necessary. I usually just pan-roast the kasha in a lightly oiled pan before simmering w/ broth (or water in a pinch.)

                      I noticed that many people mention fried onions; my ideal (meaning what Grandma made when she made kasha w/ bowties) incorporates the onions that cooked beneath the roast chicken, thoroughly brown and saturated w/ chicken fat. That's what you call a guilty pleasure!

                    2. re: CindyJ

                      This is pretty much what I do, but with medium grind, not whole kasha. I like to add mushrooms, onion and celery, and some chopped parsley. LOVE kasha!

                      1. re: prunefeet

                        Actually, I forgot to mention that I always buy medium-grind, not whole, kasha. It seems to cook up better and fluffier.

                        1. re: FlavoursGal

                          I've been really impressed by the fine ground kasha. It has a much milder flavor, and is almost like a much healthier alternative to couscous. Thank you.

                    3. My dad loves kasha and bowties (aka kasha varnishkes) with chickpeas or butter beans. I take a can of beans, drain them and bake them in a roasting pan with butter (or kosher/parve margarine) and honey. Bake at 350 for about a half hour and eat with, or on top of, the kasha. I'm not even going to comment on pescatarian's ketchup because my mom used to dice up leftover brisket and put it on top of soggy spaghetti and call it "Italian spaghetti and meat sauce".

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: lucyis

                        Oh, that's funny.

                        Would you believe that my 15-year-old daughter's annual birthday dinner request is brisket, cholent, lokshun kugel (savoury, with fried onions), and Brussels sprouts? Pretty filling, but I love the fact that these traditional foods are still being enjoyed and are getting passed down to the next generation.

                        Although, neither my bubby nor my mother EVER made cholent. This is something I started playing around with on my own, and I often serve it on Friday nights in the wintertime (I've never made it specifically for Shabbat lunch).

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            Cindy, cholent is dish that, traditionally, would be put on the stove before the start of the Jewish sabbath ("Shabbat," beginning Friday at sundown, and ending Saturday about one hour after sundown), to be eaten for lunch after having attended synagogue prayer services on Saturday. There are Ashkenazi (Eastern European) versions and Sephardic (Spanish, North African, Iraqi, etc.) versions. And within these versions, there are an infinite number of variations.

                            The cholent that I make is adapted from Joan Nathan's "Jewish Cooking in America." It contains flanken (short ribs), beef or veal marrow bones, assorted dried beans, potatoes, onions, garlic, sometimes, but not always, barley, water or chicken broth, a bit of tomato paste or ketchup, and other assorted ingredients depending on my mood and vegetable bin. I like to start it in a Dutch oven on the stovetop and transfer it to the oven to cook for hours and hours at about 225-250F. I've done it in the crock pot, as well. The aroma of a cholent cooking is incredible.

                            I've also made a vegetarian version, with great results.

                            Here's an excerpt from Claudia Roden's book "The Book of Jewish Food:..."

                            1. re: FlavoursGal

                              FlavoursGal, if you could post a recipe for your vegetarian cholent, I'd be so grateful! I no longer eat red meat, and the recipes I've seen for the veggie variety don't seem too appealing. And besides, a tried-and-true recipe from a chowhounder beats all others!

                              1. re: Missyme

                                Missyme, I don't have a written recipe with exact amounts for everything, so I've winged it for you. Feel free to omit or add vegetables.

                                FlavourGal’s Vegetarian Cholent

                                2-3 tbsp oil (I usually use canola or extra-virgin olive oil)
                                2 -3 onions, diced
                                3-4 carrots, cut in large chunks
                                1/2 rutabaga, cut in large chunks
                                1 tsp kosher salt
                                1/8 tsp ground black pepper
                                3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
                                2 tsp dried thyme (or a few sprigs of fresh thyme)
                                1/4-1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes
                                2-3 tbsp tomato paste
                                Assorted dried beans (soaked overnight), drained and rinsed (see Note, below)
                                1/2 cup pot barley (optional)
                                2-3 tbsp tamari sauce *
                                Broth (chicken or vegetable) or water
                                2-3 bay leaves
                                Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
                                5 potatoes, quartered

                                Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil and swirl to coat bottom. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until just starting to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in carrots, rutabaga, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, dried thyme (if using fresh thyme, add in with broth instead) and chili flakes and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to coat vegetables. Stir in beans and barley (if using). Add tamari, broth/water (enough to cover ingredients by about 3 inches), and bay leaves and combine well. Taste liquid, and add salt and pepper accordingly. Place potatoes in a single layer on top, spooning some liquid over each quarter. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover pot and place in 225F oven for 8 to 18 hours.

                                Note: I usually buy a bag (8 oz?) of assorted beans. In fact, most kosher groceries sell bags of beans (Unger’s brand, I believe) specifically meant for cholent.

                                *I find that the tamari adds a flavour dimension to vegetarian dishes that compensates in part for the lack of meat.

                                1. re: FlavoursGal

                                  Thank you so much! I can't wait to try it. I know just the bags of mixed beans you mean, I'll have to pick up a couple of them.

                                  BTW, my adopted Chinese son LOVES kashe varnishkes with ketchup!

                                  1. re: Missyme

                                    You're welcome. Let me know how it comes out. I often put in sweet potatoes too, which become so soft that they almost melt into the beans. Not to everyone's taste, though.

                                    Your son's going to love cholent with ketchup! How old is he?

                                    1. re: FlavoursGal

                                      I'm not sure he'll like the cholent-- too mushy-mushy for him. He's 31, and he just made me a bubby!

                                      1. re: Missyme

                                        Mazel tov! I figured he was three!

                              2. re: FlavoursGal

                                That version sounds delicious. I must try it. I didn't grow up eating it either and had it for the first time years ago on a trip to Israel and love it - especially with the flanken.

                                Do you use the flanken cut or the more commonly found short rib cut in yours?

                                1. re: laylag

                                  laylaq, the flanken cut is just about the only I usually see at the butchershops that I frequent.

                          2. re: lucyis

                            I've never heard of putting chickpeas into the varnishkes! It sounds really good and a little healthier. I might have to try that out soon. I turned my non-Jewish boyfriend onto kasha and he loves it.

                            PS My great grandmother put a squirt of ketchup into everything.

                          3. Speaking of cholent, this is the weekend when italian jews would make a different dish for shabbat - as opposed to hamin/cholent - Ruota di faraone - homemade noodles around a sauce slow-cooked in a marrow greased casserole forming a wheel=shaped cake (noodles forming the spokes) unmolded and served for SHabbat shirah. Servi Machlin has a recipe in her book on Italian Jewish Cookery.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Jerome

                              Ooh! That sounds so interesting. I'll have to do some investigating....

                            2. I can hear the tsk, tsk FlavoursGal :). I like my kraft mac and cheese extra cheesy, very little milk - and yes a touch of ketchup - having said that, I don't remember the last time I had Kraft mac and cheese.
                              I do know how to make a wicked homemade mac and cheese (which I would not put ketchup on).
                              I guess you can say I like ketchup. I put it on my eggs too - especially eggs and onions - and some Worchestershire Sauce :). Oh and the lukshen kugel too -savoury and cheesy - with ketchup
                              I like your daughter's taste in food - brussel sprouts are high on my list too
                              lucyis - your spaghetti story reminds me of my dad putting ketchup on spaghetti (even with the properly made spaghetti sauce) - it made me gag looking at it - I draw the line - but I guess you can see where my fondness for ketchup comes from (and all things tomatoey) - I must get a lot of lupine.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: pescatarian

                                I'm not ashamed to say that Kraft Dinner is one of my favourite comfort foods. My husband mixes ketchup in with his, and his three girls (myself included) always make fun of him. :-))

                                But, then, he makes fun of me when I use ketchup as a condiment with steak.

                                1. re: FlavoursGal

                                  Kraft dinner mixed with a can of tuna and a splash of hot sauce will get you through anything. (In college we called it "Tuna F***")
                                  Sorry this has nothing to do with kasha. But thanks everyone, because I too have a box of kasha that's been sitting in my pantry for, um, awhile... and I have had no idea what to do with it.

                                  1. re: misterbrucie

                                    You should really try one of the methods mentioned in this thread. Kasha tastes great and is a good grain nutritionally.

                                  2. re: FlavoursGal

                                    As a kid, I used ketchup on steak. Heck, we used ketchup on baked potatoes, too.

                                    1. re: CindyJ

                                      When I'm trying to watch my weight (which is not often enough), I'll sometimes put ketchup on my baked potato and pretend it's French fries. It kind of works, especially when I'm eating take-out barbecued chicken and sauce from Swiss Chalet, a Canadian rotisserie chicken chain.

                                      1. re: FlavoursGal

                                        You must have a pretty good imagination, FlavoursGal! :)