Coming from Lithuania, buckwheat is no news and a common food for me as it is a part of the traditional cuisine. It is quite common in all of Eastern Europe. But having lived in Denmark for quite a few years and surrounded by international friends, I see that not many are acquainted with this amazing grain, its outstanding nutritional value and cooking possibilities.
Buckwheat (or ‘grikiai’ in Lithuanian) is one of the main food memories I have from my childhood. It feels like I’ve been eating it since I can remember myself. I would pour some milk and sprinkle a bit of sugar on top. Then as I grew the toppings improved and advanced. Epic ones like freshly plucked forest mushroom sauce on a camping trip or something totally simple like boiled beetroots. My dad still eats that for breakfast every single day! Actually my whole family is totally obsessed by ‘grikiai’ and it is the most common breakfast choice.
Buckwheat is actually not a cereal grain, as many would think, but a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel. That means that it is gluten free and non allergenic so many of those with allergies can make great use of it.
Buckwheat is a great source of iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and fibers. It is low in calories and high in protein. It has also been tested to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Read more about the benefits and nutritional value here .
Flour and grain
Buckwheat can usually be found in a form of flour or groats (full grain). It has no influence on the nutrition value and only adds more cooking opportunities. You can use the flour to make ‘power’ pancakes, bake bread and cakes, make pizza dough or whatever else you imagine. I have recently also found buckwheat noodles (contains some wheat flour too) in my local asian store called ‘Soba’. They have proven to be perfect for a noodle stir fry, replace spaghetti or used cold in a vietnamese style noodle salad.
My absolute favorites though, are the groats. They can be purchased raw (light green color) or roasted (hazelnut brown).
Groats are boiled just like rice and takes only 10-15min to cook. Great for fast meals! Once you’ve got that, let your imagination loose. Buckwheat is so versatile that it can be used for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now comes the fun part – the toppings! Just mix and match different ingredients according to what you have in your kitchen or what the stomach desires. Here are some ingredients to give you an idea.
- Vegan butter
- Roasted seeds and nuts (especially peanuts)
- Sundried tomatoes
- Vegan Cheese
- Sesame oil
- Soya sauce
- Bell peppers
- and the list goes on.
You can just top your boiled grains with any of the ingredients and enjoy a warm, filling meal that doesn’t make you ‘heavy’ and gives loads of energy.
Boiled too much buckwheat? Then use the groats the next day in your buckwheat stir fry with fx. broccoli, ginger, tofu, mushrooms, soya sauce and top it with fresh coriander. Or mix them in your foodie salad, make falafels or a creamy mushroom risotto?