Quinoa often gets all the attention for being gluten-free, high in protein and vegetarian friendly; but, there are many other grains out there that provide no gluten, high plant-based protein, and optimal health benefits. Kasha is one of them. I learned about Kasha recently, and decided to try it for dinner the other night. Basically, I LOVED it – form the texture and taste to the way it set in my body. I couldn’t stop eating it! What was even better is that I didn’t feel heavy, stuffed, or tired. I felt light, satiated, and energetic.
So what is Kasha? Kasha is the name for buckwheat that has been roasted to a deep amber color. In fact, you can chew and eat Kasha without cooking it. It actually taste really good! It has a nutty, smoky, burnt flavor. The cooked version is fluffier, but has the same nutty, smoky, burnt taste to it. Both versions are good. I think it depends on the type of meal you want, your texture preference, and perhaps the mood you are in.
Kasha is one of the oldest traditional foods of Russia. Despite its name, buckwheat is not actually a member of the wheat family, but rather a relative of rhubarb. Of all the grains, buckwheat has the longest transit time in the digestive tract and is the most filling. It can be eaten as a hot breakfast cereal, a side dish, or a grain entrée mixed with vegetables.
A few characteristics and health benefits of Kasha include:
- Stabilizes blood sugar, minimizing stress-related cravings due to spikes in the stress hormone cortisol, while improving energy, mood, memory and overall hormone balance
- Builds blood; neutralizes toxic acidic waste
- Benefits circulation
- Contains the flavonoid rutin, which protects against disease by strengthening capillaries and preventing blood clotting.
- Contains high levels of magnesium, which helps lower blood pressure
- Strengthens the kidneys
- High proportion of all eight amino acids, especially lysine
- Rich in vitamin E and B-complex vitamins
How do you cook Kasha?
It is super easy and fast. First, you must boil the water. This is very important! No Kasha can enter that pot until the water has already come to a boil. Got it? Good. Then bring the water down to a simmer, slowly pour the Kasha in to the hot water, and let it cook for about 20 minutes. That’s it! Then, serve, eat and enjoy.
Do not add Kasha to cold water, as it will not cook properly. The Kasha to water ration is 1 cup Kasha to 2 cups boiling water. You can make more of course, but 1 cup is a good amount for 4 people. See below for a basic Kasha recipe. You can definitely do more with Kasha, like create a pilaf, or just get creative and add veggies and spices you like. I may try adding diced onion, parsley, kale, and tomatoes and create what I will call a Kasha Salsa Salad.
Basic Kasha Recipe:
Prep Time: 5 minutes. Cook Time: 20 minutes. Yield: 4 servings. Ingredients: 1 cup kasha, 2 cups water, pinch of sea salt. Directions: (1) Bring water to a boil first (2) Slowly add kasha and punch of sea salt (3) Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes (4) Fluff with fork and serve.
Now get out there, try some Kasha, and create your own unique Kasha cuisine.