Last Updated : May 15,2018
Viewed 21961 times
Also Known As
Kutto, Kutti no Daro
What is Buckwheat?
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
• 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
• 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.
7 Health Benefits of Buckwheat
1. Lowers Cholesterol levels: Buckwheat contains a flavonoid Rutin which is a key antioxidant for cardiovascular health.
2. Rich Antioxidant : Antioxidants are the substances that help in removing the potentially harmful substances called “free radicals” from our body. They prevent or stop cell damage in your body. They help in enhancing your body’s immunity.
3. Rich in Protein: Buckwheat is a rich plant based source of protein and excellent option for Vegetarians. Buckwheat contains 2 essential amino acids, Lysine and Arginine which is not made from the body but can only be got through food.
4. High Fiber : One cup of cooked buckwheat has 5 grams of dietary fibre. This helps you feel fuller for a longer time and hence not eat junk food. Fiber is also important for digestive health - insoluble fiber add bulk to the stools and makes waste move through the digestive tract more quickly, which is better for the gut and can help to prevent constipation.
5. Reduces Diabetics Risk: Buckwheat is a low GI seed which will slow down the release of insulin when consumed and not release to a surge in blood sugar levels. Hence its an excellent option for switching your regular Dosa to having Buckwheat Dosa. This removes the rice from the Dosa which is not good for health.
6. Gluten Free : Buckwheat works great for those who are Gluten intolerant and those wanting to lead a life of healthy eating.
7. Rich in Minerals : Rich in Manganese, Copper, Magnesium and Phosphorus. Magnesium is required for cellular metabolism while copper plays an important part in iron absorption.
Glycemic Index of Buckwheat
Buckwheat has a Glycemic Index of 49 which is low. Glycemic Index are for foods you eat, ranks carbohydrate-containing foods by how quickly they digest and raise your blood sugar or glucose levels. Foods rank from 0 to 50 are low GI, 51 to 69 are medium and 70 to 100 are high. Foods that are high in GI are not suitable for weight loss and diabetics. Foods like Buckwheat have a low GI and hence don't spike your glucose level as they are absorbed slowly. Great for weight loss and Diabetic friendly.
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