Saturday, March 20, 2010

Trying new things: kasha

The fun part of my cooking philosophy (also known as "winging it") is you never quite know how dinner is going to turn out..
I only get it really wrong about 3 times a year (and can only recall one meal which was inedible), but from time to time it's "interesting", or not quite what I expected!

Today's case study is a good example of "interesting":  Browsing the interwebs, I discovered a new use for buckwheat I wanted to try: buckwheat kasha. I read enough to figure that it should be toasted and then cooked in much the same way as rice.  A couple of days later, I decided to try it.  From memory.

Given the Slavic roots of this side-dish, I thought beef stroganoff was a good pairing for my first attempt.
Buckwheat has always appealed to me because of its pyramid shape.  Here it is raw:
First, toast the grains in a clean, dry saucepan.  On a medium heat, keep moving it around until it starts to let off a warm, toasty smell, and starts to brown.  Watch it closely and do not attempt to multi-task, or you'll end up with some dark (burnt) spots on your lovely golden grains.  Oops.
This should be an even, golden colour.  Just like this, but without the black spots.

Now what you should do is add water and/or beef stock, and simmer.  But I thought I knew better, and decided to add finely diced onion and a little garlic.  This would have been a nice idea to brown and add at the end, but I do not recommend adding to the mix at the start.  It just makes the water go "gluggy" and the onion gets a little overpowering.  Lesson learned.
You have been warned.
Meanwhile, make the beef stroganoff.  I love the way mushrooms and beef and tomato go together.
But if I'm honest, it's the sour cream that really makes my skirt fly up.
When I threw it all together, it was beautiful.  But the kasha on its own was absolutely overwhelmed by the onion - so this was really saved by the fact that stroganoff loves onion.  I'll skip that step next time and just enjoy the lovely toasty grains.


  1. this is most definitely not a NON dairy dish? but I do very much appreciate the non-dairy tag for lactards like moi!

  2. The kasha is!! The stroganoff is just a side-note, so you could serve it with something else ;)
    And you're welcome - the new tag is especially for you!!