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As a whole grain, substituting kasha in place of refined grains can add nutrients, flavour and texture to your meals. With a 15-minute simmer time, it is quick-cooking and versatile.
Kasha is closer to being a complete protein than other plant sources, including soybeans, since it contains all eight essential amino acids in good proportion. In particular, kasha contains significant amounts of the amino acid lysine, which makes it unique as a grain substitute, since this amino acid is typically lacking in most true grains.
Kasha is full of B vitamins and is rich in phosphorous, potassium, iron and calcium. One cup of buckwheat kasha kernels contains more than 20% of the recommended daily intake of fibre.
1 cup of cooked kasha provides approximately 155 calories, 5.7 grams protein, 4.5 grams fibre, 1 gram of fat, 1.3 mg iron, no cholesterol and negligible sodium.
Kasha, or roasted hulled buckwheat kernels, may be sold whole or cracked or ground into coarse, medium, or fine consistencies. The variety you use will depend on the consistency you are seeking in your dish, with coarser grinds offering nuttier flavour and finer textures being more subtle.
The terms grits and groats are often used synonymously, but groats are generally thought to be more coarsely ground than grits. "Groats" often refers to hulled crushed grain, and can be used to refer to kasha (buckwheat), as well as barley and oats. Buckwheat groats (kasha) are usually cooked in a manner similar to rice. More finely ground groats may be used as thickeners or enrichers for soups.
Kasha can be steamed, boiled or baked, and served either as is or with a seasoning. When preparing kasha, adding an egg to the recipe helps maintain the shape and texture of the individual kernels.
As a simple rice substitute, simmer one part kasha in two parts water for 15 minutes.
Kasha is versatile as a grain or nut substitute in a variety of recipes.
Healthy Ways to Enjoy Kasha:
Many kasha recipes available at
Kasha, or buckwheat groats, is native to central Asia and was introduced to Europe by the end of the Middle Ages. Perhaps due to its long history and travel across continents, the term "kasha" has come to refer to a variety of cereal-type products. In America, the term refers to roasted buckwheat groats, which have a toasty, nutty flavour. In Russia, "kasha" is used in a broader sense for a variety of cooked grains, including buckwheat, millet and oats.
Buckwheat kasha is not a true cereal, since it is not a grass. Its "kernels" are actually achenes, which are dry fruits similar to the "seeds" of strawberries.
While buckwheat may be known to many, particularly as a flour in pancakes and other specialty items, this month we will focus on kasha, a nutritious and tasty alternative to better-known grains.
Here's a decadent recipe that was published in the Toronto Star in May 2008 and is an unusual…
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