Also Known As
Kutto, Kutti no Daro
Buckwheat is a plant crop cultivated mainly for its grains. It is usually grown over the summer months and the crop is harvested when the plants are around two to four feet in height. The plants take around two months to mature, after which they are stacked to dry. The dried plants are threshed and the hard outer shell is removed. The grains are then packaged.
Buckwheat is sold whole or in cracked form and is usually brown in colour. It is also sold as flour, either in lighter form or darker form, with the darker variety being more nutritious. It has a distinctive nutty flavour that can be quite pleasing to the palate, especially when combined with other mild flours.
Buckwheat can also be unroasted or roasted. Unroasted buckwheat has a subtle flavour, while roasted buckwheat has more of an earthy, nutty taste. Since buckwheat does not contain gluten, it is often mixed with wheat flour (which contains gluten) for baking.
How to select
• Buckwheat is sold in whole or cracked form, or as flour. Choose according to the recipe.
• Check the packaging, contents and date of packing before purchasing.
• It should be free from any dirt, grime, pebbles etc.
• Whether purchasing buckwheat in bulk or in a package, make sure there is no evidence of moisture.
• Buckwheat pancakes are a great choice for breakfast.
• Cooked buckwheat can also be used as an alternative to breakfast cereals like oats.
• Use to make nutritious dhoklas (steamed savoury), chilas (thin crepes), or buckwheat and moong khichadi (cooked buckwheat and green gram tempered with spices).
• Combine with other flours to make waffle batter, pancake batter etc.
• Mix buckwheat flour with whole wheat flour to make delicious breads, muffins and pancakes.
• Add cooked buckwheat to soups or stews to give a deeper flavour and texture.
• Make delightful salads by adding cooked buckwheat to green peas, chopped chicken etc. along with spices and sauces.
• In Japan, buckwheat is used to make traditional buckwheat soba noodles.
• In Russia, buckwheat is used to make a type of pancake called Blinis, which is served with caviar.
How to store
• Buckwheat has a high fat content, and must be handled properly to avoid rancidity.
• Place buckwheat in an airtight container and store in a cool dry place.
• Buckwheat flour should be always stored in the refrigerator, while other buckwheat products should be kept refrigerated if you live in a warm climate or during periods of warmer weather.
• If stored properly, buckwheat can last up to a year, while the flour will keep fresh for several months.
• Buckwheat is a very good source of iron and a good source of magnesium, calcium and dietary fibre. Thus, it is recommended for people with high cholesterol levels.
• Buckwheat contains two flavonoids with significant health-promoting actions: rutin and quercitin.
• The protein in buckwheat is a high quality protein, containing all eight essential amino acids, including lysine.