Our house practically runs on oats. Sometimes I feel like the cashier at our local Whole Foods must think I have a pet horse for all the oats I buy from the bulk bins. I usually cook a batch of oats with water and flax seeds twice a week so that we can just grab some from the fridge, bung it in the microwave and top it with fruit and nuts for breakfast. Job done.
I was making a batch of my buckwheat bread the other day and had some of the cooked buckwheat groats left over. So I decided to tinker around with it and see what it would be like as porridge to give us a change from oats. And this is the result.
Nutrition wise, buckwheat is a superstar. Despite the name it isn’t wheat. It is a gluten-free seed rather than a grain so perfect for anyone watching their carbs or excluding gluten. It reduces cholesterol and also maintains blood sugar levels so you don’t get a slump after eating it. Hulled buckwheat kernels (called groats) are pale tan-to-green, while the roasted buckwheat groats known as kasha—a staple food in Eastern Europe—are dark brown with a nutty flavor. I always use ‘groats’ which I buy from the bulk bins at Whole Foods. You can also buy them at most health food stores, online or in some supermarkets.
I added cinnamon and dates for sweetness, a spoonful of sugar-free almond butter for protein and fat and topped it with some almonds and grated apple. You could add some honey or maple syrup if you prefer things a little sweeter. My boys love it with sliced bananas or berries on top too.
This is also a lovely comforting thing to eat after dinner or for a snack during the day.
I never really measure this but I work on 1/4 cup of the dried buckwheat per person, but you really might as well make a big batch for subsequent days. The ratio of buckwheat : water you’ll need is 1:3 so you can easily make a bigger or smaller batch.
1 cup (170g) buckwheat groats (they look very similar to steel-cut oatmeal and are chopped rather than rolled or ground)
1 teaspoon coconut oil or butter
3 cups (700ml) hot water
12 Medjool dates, stoned and chopped (3 per person)
2 tablespoons sugar-free almond or sunflower butter
ground cinnamon and ground ginger to taste – I usually use a quarter teaspoon of each for this quantity
a pinch of sea salt
To serve – fruit, nuts, yoghurt, maple syrup, honey
1. Heat the oil or butter in a large saucepan with a lid (lid off for now) over a medium high heat. When the oil is melted, put the groats in the pan and stir them so that they can toast in the oil for 2-3 minutes
2. Add the salt, cinnamon and ginger and stir for a few seconds before adding the hot water. If you use cold water it will just take a few minutes longer for the porridge to cook. Stir and put the lid on the pan then drop the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
3. Chop and stone your dates while the porridge cooks, add them as they are chopped. The heat of the water will make them plump up and melt slightly, thickening the porridge.
4. When the water has been absorbed and the buckwheat has plumped up take the pan off the heat. Taste and adjust the ginger and cinnamon to taste. At this stage you can let it cool and then put it in the fridge in a lidded container. You will need to add a little water and use a spoon to break up the chunks when you re-heat it on subsequent days as it will dry out slightly in the fridge.
5. If eating straight away, stir the almond butter through the porridge and then divide it between 4 bowls. Top with grated apple or pear, apple sauce, flaked almonds and yoghurt or maple syrup if you’d like.