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 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 desired consistency of 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.
You may find kasha in the grains or specialty foods section of your grocery store, in packages or in bulk bins.
Unprepared kasha should be stored in an air-tight container, in a cool cupboard. In warmer climates, store in the fridge or freezer. Once prepared, meals containing kasha can generally be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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:
- Mix cooked kasha with milk and sweeten with fresh fruit for a hot breakfast.
- Add kasha to muffin batter to add flavour and texture. Experiment with coarse, medium and finely ground.
- Serve up a side of simple cooked kasha with eggs and cooked veggies for a Saturday or Sunday brunch.
- Enjoy a hearty soup made with kasha.
- Mix up a tuna and kasha salad and serve in a whole wheat pita with fresh lettuce or spinach leaves and tomato slices.
- Make cold grain salads with kasha.
- Add kasha to soups, stews, stuffings, pilafs and stir-fries.
- Experiment with kasha burgers recipes. Click here and here.
- Prepare your favourite fish fillets with kasha, as in Kasha Roasted Salmon.
- Treat yourself to crunchy Kasha Cookies.
Many kasha recipes are available at:
- The Birkett Millswww.thebirkettmills.com
- Wolff's Kasha www.wolffskasha.com
- Whole Health MD www.wholehealthmd.com