How to Cook Buckwheat

by autumn on April 23, 2012

There’s a strange poetry to flat rate boxes, a mathematics of love via the US Postal Service. For years, my mom has sent me flat rate boxes of food. Rather, I’ve always had a horrible habit of leaving my belongings like a trail of breadcrumbs wherever I go and my mom is great about making sure I get them back.

It starts with a favorite pair of boots forgotten at home, but the beautiful thing about a flat rate box is the potential. Not since a childhood refrigerator box has cardboard seemed so boundless. Somehow, everything fits: the three cans of Rosarita refried beans, the Reese’s, the inexplicable pair of Valentine’s Day napkins, and (hey, it’s flat rate after all) the five pound Costco bag of quinoa.

Maybe you’re not also working your way through 10 pounds of quinoa, but are looking for a new whole grain in your life. Allow me to introduce you to buckwheat. The first time I cooked buckwheat, it went straight in the trash. It was a brown mushy mess. I had no plans to ever make or eat it again, but now we have it at least once a week. I learned that the way you cook buckwheat makes all the difference, so I’m here to tell you how to end up with a nutty, toothsome, and super-versatile thing instead of the alternative.

Buckwheat basics:

  • Go whole: Buckwheat is sold in different “granulations,” which just means it’s ground up in varying degrees of fineness. Look for “whole granulation,” which is not ground up at all.
  • Make it a staple: My regular old neighborhood grocery store carries it.
  • Weeknight potential: It cooks very quickly, without much heat, but it’s also great cold. Cook a bunch and have it on hand.
  • Toast it: This improves the texture and deepens the flavor. Toasting is totally necessary.
  • Rhubarb: It’s related to rhubarb (!), not wheat, so it’s a great gluten-free stand-in for things like barley, farro, and wheat berries.

How to Cook Buckwheat

Yield: enough for 2 as a main, easily doubled.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole buckwheat
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pinch salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Place the water and salt in a small stainless pot, but do not turn the water on just yet.
  2. In a bare stainless skillet, toast the buckwheat over med-high heat until some grains begin to darken and you smell a nutty, popcorn aroma.
  3. About one minute into toasting the buckwheat, begin heating the water on high. This little delay will help your buckwheat and water be ready closer to the same time.
  4. When the water boils and the buckwheat is toasted, remove the buckwheat from the heat and reduce the water to low heat.
  5. Slowly add the buckwheat to the water, being careful because it will boil up. Cover the pot and cook on low for 10 minutes, or until no water remains.

Now eat it! Get inspired:

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tamika April 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Halloo! I love buckwheat flour! I buy locally grown/ ground ‘sarrasin’ every time I go to Montreal to visit my family. Buckwheat crepes are the norm there and yummy gf with everything. I make some, layer with parchment and freeze.
I agree, I should have kasha in my pantry too.
Thanks for the great post.
T

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2 rcakewalk April 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Have you ever sprouted buckwheat? I tried it a few months ago and loved it! I had read the Sarma Melgalis Raw Food vegan cookbook (her 2nd one) and had to try the Krispie bars made with sprouted then dehyratec buckwheat…sooo great! It kinda pips in your mouth, and made me realize how much I love buckwheat too. (The recipe I made required a dehydrator, but I bet sprouted buckwheat would dry out in a low oven fairly well.)

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3 Autumn April 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Tamika, I love your idea of having buckwheat crepes frozen on hand! I bet they’d freeze a lot better then something like pancakes. Luckily, I love buckwheat pancakes enough that they usually all get eaten, no problem!

Rebecca, I haven’t! I don’t have a dehydrator, but do have to admit that I get a fancy treat from one lucky ducky every once in a blue moon. I’ll look out for any sprouted buckwheat krispies next time I do!

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4 Zhen August 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I just received 5 lbs. of whole buckwheat, still in the hull, very dark in color. I haven’t had it like this before. Do you use it the same way as the lighter colored, hulled grain? I use it in gluten free baked goods, but afraid that it just won’t be the same smooth texture.

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