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Buckwheat, the gluten-free wonder

It’s the time to be festive, it’s the time eat ‘kutu‘, aka buckwheat! Thanks to its wonderful existence, you can still enjoy ‘pakodas’, ‘cheela’, ‘puris’ and other naughty foods,  even when you decide to abstain from grains. Now, that surely is enough to put a smile on any food enthusiasts’ face.

I grew up in North India, and there,  buckwheat sees the light of day only and only during ‘navratras‘; a time when a lot of people choose to stay away from grains and consume foods such as buckwheat, sago, fruits and potatoes (in all shapes and forms). Well, for the followers of ‘cleansing‘ diets, this beautiful, nutty non-grain will perhaps be put into the detox category, but for most of us North Indians,  it’s a ‘must have’ during the ‘fasts’, and to be honest, a lot of the ‘non fasting’ folks love it too as it is a deliciously different from the usual ‘daal-roti-chawal-sabji’ meals. Essentially, we love food and we love to experiment, grain or non-grain!

if you have ever had a peep into the lunch box of a  ‘navratra faster’, then you would surely understand what I am going on about! A box  filled with ‘kutu pakoda, often with spinach too’, ‘kutu cheela in dahi’ and even a ‘kutu kadhi‘ is what you will get to see and of course, all this is created using this yummy, versatile gluten-free, wonder.

We at notjustashopper, love Indian food and could talk about it until the cows come home but for this post,  our first one after a long hiatus, we are focussing on this ‘non grain’ that us Indians are very familiar with and which is a firm favourite across the world too. So, on your travels, worry not…you will find plenty of ‘kutu’ anywhere (well, almost) you go…so, shall we have a look?

Buckwheat, the french way

Buckwheat, the Montreal way: Buckwheat crepes and coffee

Start your day with a hearty buckwheat breakfast via

Start your day with a hearty buckwheat breakfast via

Buckwheat flour put to really good use here ! via

Buckwheat flour put to really good use here in the shape of a pizza ! via

 

Own a waffle iron and some buckwheat flour? Get 'waffling' via

Own a waffle iron and some buckwheat flour? Get ‘waffling’ via

Wondered how to cook buckwheat groats? Learn right here via

Wondered how to cook buckwheat groats? Learn right here via

Tea from toasted buckwheat; loved by the Japanese...try some via

Tea from toasted buckwheat; loved by the Japanese…try some via

 

A lot of recipes of buckwheat that I absolutely love are french (apart from the gorgeous Indian ones, of course!). Buckwheat, clearly is a big part of the french cuisine too. In french, it’s flour is called ‘Farine de Sarrasin’ and its use goes back to the time of the crusades, where the French came across the Saracen warriors and their very special buckwheat flour and now, this is heavily used across France, and the french colonies across the world.

I often wonder about food, about its origin and history and here again, I couldn’t stop but ponder about how buckwheat aka ‘kutu’ increased in popularity in India, especially during the religious fasting and of course,  now with most of us having this ‘need’ to stay off wheat, it’s finding itself on the tables even during the non-festive periods too. However, we will delve into its history another time. For now, let’s have a look at the fantastic health benefits, this has to offer:

  • Scientifically, it has been known to reduce cholesterol and lower the blood pressure because of the presence of a phytonutrient, rutin
  • Packed with high quantities of the mineral, magnesium and hence highly recommended for a healthy heart
  • Very high protein content and if you are coeliac or wheat-intolerant, then it’s the perfect food for you
  • A good mix of protein and complex carbohydrates, that  provide energy and keeps you feeling ‘full’ longer

I leave you with the fact, that this mighty food that we have dedicated the entire post to, is a seed from the rhubarb and the sorrel family…now, did you know that? I certainly didn’t!

Wishing you many more, healthy, ‘buckwheat-filled’ meal times,

Shilpa xx

 

Cover Image: via