Instead of Bread

Buckwheat, familiar to many as a type of nourishing grain, is actually the dried fruit of a tall grass-like plant, which develops from white flowers. The small triangular kernels, greenish-brown in color, are used as food, either whole or after being ground into a dark flour with a unique taste and texture.

Ronit Penso
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Ronit Penso

Buckwheat, familiar to many as a type of nourishing grain, is actually the dried fruit of a tall grass-like plant, which develops from white flowers. The small triangular kernels, greenish-brown in color, are used as food, either whole or after being ground into a dark flour with a unique taste and texture.

Buckwheat is often identified with Eastern European cuisine, but it originated in ancient China. From there its spread to additional through Asia and into Europe, arriving in Western Europe only during the Middle Ages, when it became common mainly in the French provinces of Normandy and Brittany.

Over the years, its use declined in Europe and in China, and today it is common in Nepal and Japan, where it is an important nutrient, as well as in Eastern Europe, and in North America, mainly Canada. Elsewhere, buckwheat is grown as a base for animal feed.

Buckwheat contains protein, iron, phosphorus and zinc in considerable quantities, and therefore, is especially suitable for people who are allergic to wheat and wheat products.

Until a few years ago, buckwheat was known in Israel mainly to consumers of health foods, but today, in the wake of the large wave of immigration from the CIS, buckwheat has become a common product.

In Eastern Europe, buckwheat is cooked in various forms, for preparing sweet and salty cereals, soups or cooked dishes with vegetables or meat. Eastern European buckwheat is also known as kasha, which refers to buckwheat that has undergone a process of roasting in order to preserve the shape of the kernels during cooking (kasha, by the way, is also a general term for various grains from which cereals and cooked dishes are prepared).

Buckwheat kernels manufactured by Super-Class are sold for NIS 5.45 for 500 grams, and kernels of kasha made from roasted buckwheat, manufactured by Wolff's, are sold for NIS 15 for 369 grams.

In Russia, buckwheat flour is used for preparing the famous blini pancake, which are the base for serving caviar.

Buckwheat flour produced by Harduf (NIS 7 for 500 grams) is available in natural food stores. The flour can easily be made at home, with a coffee or spice grinder, because buckwheat kernels are very easy to grind. The flour serves as a good base for preparing flat Indian-style bread, but it is not suitable for baking with yeast, because it contains no gluten. Buckwheat flour is very suitable for the preparation of home-made pasta, and it is interesting to combine finely ground buckwheat flour with more coarsely ground flour, or with wheat flour.

In Japan, buckwheat flour is used as a base for preparing soba noodles, with the addition of water and salt. The dark noodles have a unique flavor and texture, and in Japan are used mainly in hot soups, which usually contain seaweed and miso (a paste of fermented beans and rice) as well.

Japanese soba noodles are sold in many natural food stores, but their price (NIS 22 for 250 grams, manufactured by Mitoku) is prohibitive. Nevertheless, they are recommended for occasional use as an interesting substitute for the more familiar Western noodles. The noodles are especially good as a base for a cold noodle salad, but they must be rinsed well after cooking.

Soba noodle salad

250 grams cooked soba noodles, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root

1 teaspoon finely chopped hot green pepper

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or sherry

3 tablespoons dry white wine

3 tablespoons unprocessed tehina

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

4 tablespoons chopped green onions

Place the noodles in a bowl and add the ginger and the hot green pepper.

In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients, except for the spring onions, until a sort of soft paste is created (if the paste is too thick, add some wine or lukewarm water). Transfer the paste to the bowl of noodles and mix well. Leave at room temperature for about an hour. Scatter with green onions before serving.

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

NOW: 40% OFF
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

הקלטות מעוז

Jewish Law Above All: Recordings Reveal Far-right MK's Plan to Turn Israel Into Theocracy

איתמר בן גביר

Why I’m Turning My Back on My Jewish Identity

Travelers looking at the Departures board at Ben Gurion Airport. The number of olim who later become yordim is unknown.

Down and Out: Why These New Immigrants Ended Up Leaving Israel

Beatrice Grannò and Simona Tabasco as Mia and Lucia in "The White Lotus."

The Reality Behind ‘The White Lotus’ Sex Work Fantasy

The Mossad hit team in Dubai. Exposed by dozens of security cameras

This ‘Dystopian’ Cyber Firm Could Have Saved Mossad Assassins From Exposure

מליאת הכנסת 28.12.22

Comeback Kid: How Netanyahu Took Back Power After 18 Months in Exile