After spending two weeks reading and testing recipes from two well-known Japanese food cooks, Elizabeth Andoh, and Harumi Kurihara, I couldn’t get their food flavors out of my mind, so I did little experimenting with them. However, I wanted to take one path to get to two destinations, because I’ve also been wanting to do something with buckwheat groats for at least a year now, since my friend Hilde spoke to me about the use of roasted buckwheat, also known as Kasha, in Eastern European cooking. I came up with an “East Meets West Roasted Buckwheat Salad” inspired by the flavors of both worlds. The salad is similar to tabouli, but with Asian flavors.
Buckwheat is a very good grain for your healthy eating habits. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, it’s good for your cardiovascular system, helps prevent gallstones, breast cancer, and puts you at a lower risk for diabetes. And, although the suffix of buckwheat is “wheat” it is from a different botanical family than wheat and it is safe to eat for people who are gluten intolerant. It’s also quick and easy to prepare.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 5 to 6 cups
¾ cup roasted buckwheat groats
½ green bell pepper, chopped into ½ inch cubes
½ red bell pepper, chopped into ½ inch cubes
½ cucumber, peeled, seed and chopped into ½-inch cubes
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
7 stalks green onion
Carrot, ¾ cup, chopped into ½-inch cubes
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
For the Dressing:
¾ tablespoon tamari soy sauce
1-1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1. Fill a small pot with 4 cups of water and bring it to a boil, and then add ½ teaspoon salt and the roasted buckwheat. Cook the buckwheat groats watching them carefully, so as not to overcook them—about 15 minutes. Buckwheat groats can easily turn mushy. It’s not pasta, but think al dente, cook until still slightly firm to the bite. When it is ready, place the cooked grain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
2. Fill a separate small pot with 1-1/2 cups of water and bring it to a boil, and then add the chopped carrots and salt, and cook approximately 2 to 3 minutes, until they are tender. Strain and rinse them with cold water. Set them aside.
3. Line up the green onions and cut off the tips and discard them. Slice through the scallions horizontally 3 inches from the tops, and then shred those pieces lengthwise, (these will be used to decorate the top of the salad). Slice what remains of the stalks horizontally at 1/4-inch intervals.
4. Place the buckwheat, the carrots, red and green bell peppers, cucumber, cilantro, and green onion in a salad bowl and toss with the salad dressing.
Garnish – Toasted almond slivers and the shredded green onion.