Buckwheat is another ancient food staple returning to our cuisine. It used to be a common ingredient of our ancestors, as Ján Babilon – the author of the first cookbook in the Slovak language says. He was a chef and the owner of a restaurant in Pest (today’s Budapest), where he published Prvá kuchárka v slovenskej reči in 1870. Yes, it was the time when Slovaks still lived under Hungarian rule, and no such country as Slovakia or its language officially existed, so he had to publish the book himself.
Buckwheat features in quite a few of Babilon‘s recipes for soups, sweet and savoury porridges or kashas, soufflés and gratin dishes. In the recipe below, buckwheat groats are used as the main ingredient for a simple dish that will surely please vegetarians, as well as those suffering from celiac disease. Buckwheat is not only gluten-free, but also high in biologically valuable proteins, minerals and vitamins.
Buckwheat Groats with Braised Cauliflower and Carrots
- ½ cup buchwheat groats (100 g)
- 1 cup water (225 ml)
- a pinch of salt
- 1 small cauliflower (about 700 g)
- 2 carrots
- 2 scallions
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- black pepper to taste
- yoghurt to top and fresh parsley to garnish
- Put the buckwheat groats in a small pot, pour in the water and season with the salt. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and let simmer for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for 30 minutes, covered with a lid.
- Meanwhile, remove the leaves from the cauliflower, cut out the hard stem, and break the cauliflower head into small florets. Put in a colander or a large sieve and rinse under running water. Let drain.
- Peel and slice the carrots. Wash and thinly slice the scallions. Pour the oil in a large frying pan and let warm over a medium heat. Throw in the scallions and roast briefly until they are lightly browned. Add the carrots, the cauliflower and the seasoning. Stir well and sauté over a medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes, then pour in a cup of water. Cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the water has completely cooked off.
- Stir in the cooked buckwheat groats, divide into bowls and serve warm with a dollop of yoghurt on top and a garnish of chopped parsley.
However simple it may look or sound, this is a nutritional dish which makes for a quick and satisfying weekday dinner.