An introduction to buckwheat


The first time I ever tried, or even heard of buckwheat was while on this diet. And now I have three bags of the stuff sitting in my cupboards!

So what is it exactly? Despite what the name suggests, buckwheat has nothing to do with wheat, and is in actual fact a plant seed. It is also naturally gluten free, so it is a great alternative to grains when you are on an anti-candida diet.

What can you do with buckwheat?

  • Grind them in a food processor to make into a flour for gluten-free baking
  • Cook the whole groats separately to create salads or side dishes
  • Add it to stews or currys for bulk
  • Use as a meat-free stuffing ingredient

What’s so good about it?

Buckwheat is a healthy source of plant protein, is rich in vitamins and minerals, and the best thing about it (at least on this diet), is that it contains almost no sugar (less than 0.1g per 100g). It’s also a really cheap ingredient, the bag in the photo cost me £1.90 for 500g. Just give buckwheat a google, and you will be faced with hundred of articles about the health benefits of eating it regularly.

My own experiences

I have experimented with a few recipes using buckwheat so far, here are my own observations.

Buckwheat fails:

  • Buckwheat bread – both my mother and myself have tried making bread a couple of times using buckwheat flour and I found it disgusting! Buckwheat has quite a distinctive taste and smell which unless masked by other flavours can be quite unpleasant.
  • Buckwheat wraps – although the flavour wasn’t terrible when I tried this, the texture was quite paste-like and also the wraps didn’t really hold together
buckwheat wraps
Once rolled, my buckwheat wraps just fell apart!

Buckwheat wins:

  • Buckwheat curry – I found buckwheat to be a fantastic addition to my veggie curries. I used the buckwheat as I would have used lentils, and the texture worked really well, soaking up the flavours of the curry nicely.
  • Buckwheat chapatis – for some reason these didn’t have the same pungent flavour as when the flour was baked into a bread. And although the chapatis are quite dry compared to a wheat chapati, they actually worked quite well with a nice saucy curry.
buckwheat curry
Buckwheat and cabbage curry with buckwheat chapatis
  • Buckwheat mock-shepherds pie – I made a mock shepherds pie using a meat-free buckwheat bolognese sauce and suede instead of potato mash. The buckwheat held together perfectly after baking the pie in the oven.
  • Buckwheat salads – I really like cooking a big batch of buckwheat groats to add to my salads. It has a similar texture to peal-barley and simply needs the right seasoning in order to make it work.
buckwheat salad
A mediterranean-style buckwheat salad to go with my baked chicken

So in conclusion, I definitely think you should give buckwheat a chance and start getting creative with it in your recipes!


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