kasha breakfast porridge

First spelt, then lentils, and now buckwheat porridge.  I had every intention of making my next post about my dad’s yorkshire pudding, but these tiny grains (well, seeds really) got in my way.  You’re probably scratching your head over a recipe for porridge; and sure, this is hardly more complicated than making your morning oatmeal.  I thought it would be worth sharing though because I doubt most people have worked with kasha before – whole lightly toast buckwheat groats.  The groats are actually the seed of a plant related to rhubarb and not a grain at all, meaning they’re gluten free. (Though come to think of it, aren’t kernels of whole wheat technically seeds themselves?)  I’ve worked with buckwheat flour plenty in the past.  I love it in everything from cakes to pancakes to noodles.  But, I’ve never ventured into the world of whole buckwheat.

I picked up a bag of kasha from the bulk bin at Whole Foods with the intention of trying another recipe from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain (see here and here for some I’ve tried so far) for a vanilla bean flecked baked kasha pudding.  Curiosity got the better of me this morning, and instead of waiting to make the pudding, I decided to try the kasha in porridge form.

From what I understand, this is standard breakfast fair all across northeastern Europe where buckwheat flourishes in the harsh climate.  The tiny grains seeds? have this amazing malty flavor (a result of the toasting.)  Along with a cinnamon stick, they smell wonderful cooking on a winter morning.  What I especially like about this porridge, besides being a change from oats, is how distinctly light it is.  The groats themselves feel light in the palm of your hand, and the cooked porridge is similarly light on your stomach.  It’s filling without being overly so, and the perfect fuel for shoveling you car and/or house out of the January sludge and snow.

I’ve seen whole buckwheat groats (kasha) in the bulk bins at Whole Foods and Harvest in Boston, and I’m sure most natural foods store stock them.  Generally they come pre-toasted, but some do come raw.  If you have raw kasha, toast it lightly in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

Serves 4.

For the Porridge

  • 1 cup kasha (buckwheat groats)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup low-fat milk or soy milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Toppings

  • Honey, maple syrup, agave, or brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter per bowl
  • Milk or soy milk
  • Bananas, pecans, and/or berries

Place the kasha in a fine mesh strainer and rinse well.  Combine the rinsed kasha, the water, the milk, and the cinnamon in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.  Stir in the vanilla extract and turn off the heat.  Leave covered and let sit for an additional 5 minutes.

Divide the hot kasha into 4 bowls and the toppings of your choice and enjoy!

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