Friday, December 18, 2009

Buckwheat Kasha with Mushrooms and Onions

As I recently said, I like to purchase new things at the supermarket... and since the agro-business manages to bring new products every other day to feed a new demand (gluten-free for instance) or fad (remember all the Atkins-diet products? Seen any on the shelves lately?), I am always in luck to bring home something new. The latest thing I bought is Kasha. I was in the bulk section of the supermarket and next to my Blue Indigo lentils, Kasha there was. I had never heard of it before...I read the tiny-print (really tiny) label to discover that it was 100% buckwheat. I love buckwheat in galettes (buckwheat-flour crepes) or in Soba Noodles, so I was very happy to find a new way to eat buckwheat... and a new thing to cook for my family in less than 30 minutes.
I had mushrooms in the fridge, I had onions (always have onions), fresh parsley, and heavy cream... so I figured that I could use all that together.
Kasha means "porridge" in Eastern Europe and can be made out of any grains. In English, it refers to buckwheat groats. The berries have a triangular shape and are light-to-dark brown depending on if they have been toasted or not. They are very healthy: a good source of proteins and magnesium.
Something funny happened as I was cooking the kasha: a smell I could recognize but not name was filling the air (kitchen and living room because of my American kitchen!)... I was trying very hard to figure out what it was... when after a few minutes of sniffing and inhaling, I found out! Galettes, bien sur! Of course, because it's buckwheat and when we make galettes, that's the smell the buckwheat flour has when cooking on the pan.
As I was serving my children the kasha dish, without telling them what it was, my daughter immediately said "maman, ca sent comme si tu as fait des crepes!" (mom, it smells as if you made crepes). I laughed because it had taken me a few minutes to get all my thoughts together whereas she got it immediately (and the last time we had galettes was over the Summer). You see, that's why it's worth cooking varied food to children. They remember the smell, they remember the texture, they remember the last time you made it, etc... As a result, the sooner you introduce new tastes and the more tastes you introduce, the more diversified their palate is going to be... and the more likely they'll become good eaters over time. Encouraging, n'est-ce-pas?
As for my kasha dish, I personally loved it. I think that next to Socca, this is my second favorite new discovery of the last three months. My children liked it as well. My daughter got a little put off the first time because of bad memory association with texture (!). About 18 months ago, she got sick and in order for her to eat something nutritious and easy to swallow, I made her oatmeal. Unfortunately, she started coughing badly as she was eating it and ended up throwing up. Since then, every time she is sick (and she was on the evening I made kasha), she can not have anything mushy because she is scared of throwing up. The following day, she ate some kasha leftover and enjoyed it a lot (she was not coughing any more)... As for my little one, he ate his full serving and did not even try to spit one grain! I'm glad because it's going to be something I'm going to be making regularly in the future! Et vous? Bon Appétit!
Ingredients (for 6 servings):
- 1 cup Kasha grains
- 2 cups of fresh mushrooms, cut in tiny tiny tiny cubes
- 1 small onion, cut in tiny tiny tiny bits
- Fresh parsley, minced
- Heavy cream
- Fresh thyme (optional)
- Olive oil
- Salt, black pepper to taste

  • In a large pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt and add the Kasha.
  • Lower the heat and let simmer until the Kasha is fully cooked for about 15 minutes. You'll see the bits open and the whole mixture will become a little bit mushy.
  • In the meantime, in a sauce pan, saute the onion in olive oil. Add the fresh thyme and the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are fully cooked. Add the parsley.
  • Add the kasha to the mushrooms-onions-parsley.
  • Add heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste.
My Personal Comments:
  • You could add peas to the dish to add more vegetables to the dish
  • If your children don't like fresh parsley, don't add it to the whole mix. Keep it for the ones who like parsley.
  • I have eaten it the following day and it was still good.
  • You can find Kasha in the flour/grain aisle of supermarket or online at


  1. I am currently studying abroad in Paris, and I really like this recipe! Savez-vous s'il est possible de trouver du kasha dans les supermarchés français ?

  2. Sara, I would guess that any organic/natural supermarket might carry it. Alternatively, since it's used in Jewish dishes, you might be in luck in supermarkets in Le Marais.