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Also Known As
Kutto, Kutti no Daro
Buckwheat is a plant crop and is cultivated mainly for its grains. It is usually grown over the summer months and the plant is harvested when they are around two to four feet in height. The plants take around two months to mature and once they are, they are stacked to dry. The dried plants are threshed and the hard outer shell is removed. The remaining grains are then packaged.
Buckwheat is sold whole or in cracked form and is usually brown in colour. It is also sold as flour, either in lighter form or darker form, with the darker variety being more nutritious. It has a distinctive nutty flavor that can be quite pleasing to the palate, especially when combined with other mild flours. Apart from this, buckwheat can also be unroasted or roasted. Unroasted buckwheat has a subtle flavor, while roasted buckwheat has more of an earthy, nutty taste. Since buckwheat does not contain gluten, it is often mixed with wheat flour (which contains gluten) for baking.
How to select
Buckwheat is sold in whole, cracked form or as flour. Use according to your requirements. Ensure that you check the packaging and the contents before purchasing. It should be free from any dirt, grime, pebbles etc. Whether purchasing buckwheat in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure there is no evidence of moisture.
· Use buckwheat to make pancakes which go very well as a breakfast dish. In Russia, buckwheat is used to make Blinis, pancakes which are a classic accompaniment to caviar.
· It can also be used as an alternative to breakfast cereals. Cook up a pot of buckwheat for a change from hot oatmeal as a delicious hearty breakfast cereal.
· Use to make nutritious dhoklas (steamed savoury), chilas (thin crepes), buckwheat and moong khichadi ( flavoured buckwheat and green gram with spices)
· Combine with other flours to make waffle batter, pancake batters etc.
· Combine buckwheat flour with whole wheat flour to make delicious breads, muffins and pancakes.
· Add cooked buckwheat to soups or stews to give them a hardier flavor and deeper texture.
· Make delightful salads by adding cooked buckwheat to green peas, chopped chicken etc along with spices etc.
· In Japan, buckwheat is used to make traditional buckwheat soba noodles.
How to store
Buckwheat has a high fat content, and therefore requires special handling because it can go rancid. Place buckwheat in an airtight container and store in a cool dry place. Buckwheat flour should be always stored in the refrigerator, while other buckwheat products should be kept refrigerated if you live in a warm climate or during periods of warmer weather. If stored properly, buckwheat can last up to a year, while the flour will keep fresh for several months.
· Buckwheat is a very good source of iron and a good source of magnesium, calcium and dietary fiber. Thus, it is recommended for people with high cholesterol levels.
· Buckwheat contains two flavonoids with significant health-promoting actions: rutin and quercitin.
· The protein in buckwheat is a high quality protein, containing all eight essential amino acids, including lysine.