What is kasha? It’s a grain-like seed that can be a healthy base for meals. Keep reading to learn more about this delicious ingredient, and get a recipe for kasha porridge.
Kasha is a healthy and energizing ingredient made from buckwheat groats that have been roasted, then cooked in water on the stovetop or in a rice cooker. Kasha is characterized by an earthy nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture. Buckwheat groats have long been used in various traditional European and Asian cuisines, but have versatile uses ranging from breakfast porridges in the morning to savory dishes for the rest of the day. It can work really well in Buddha bowls and Poke bowls.
We’ll explain what kasha is, some of the health benefits of buckwheat, and give you a recipe for a chai spice kasha breakfast porridge.
Health Benefits of Kasha
Despite its name, buckwheat is in fact a seed grown for its grain-like characteristics and is not related to wheat at all. The nutritional value of kasha is generally higher in comparison to many other grains and cereals. Some of the health benefits of kasha include:
- Buckwheat or kasha are mostly made of carbohydrates.
- It has a high mineral and antioxidant content
- Buckwheat scores low to medium on the glycemic-index (GI), meaning buckwheat should not raise your blood sugar levels.
- It is a good source of fiber and is can be beneficial for colon health.
- Buckwheat contains small amounts of high quality protein, due to its balanced amino acid composition.
- It is a gluten-free food which can be helpful for those with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease to consume.
Kasha Cooking Tips
Buckwheat cooks faster than rice, so make sure to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t overcook. Moreover, cooking kasha with too much water or for too long can lead to mushy grains. To avoid this, you likely won’t need to use more than 1 ½ cups of water for each cup of dry buckwheat groats. Cooking kasha is a similar process to rice – you usually want to use a ratio of about 1-1 ½ cups of water per cup of dry buckwheat groats.
The following recipe is for a slightly sweet kasha breakfast porridge, best on chilly mornings before the sun has had a chance to warm the day.
Chai Spice Kasha Recipe
- 1¼ cups toasted buckwheat groats
- 1 cup water
- 1½ cups homemade oat milk
- pinch of salt
- 1 cinnamon stick or 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1½ tbsp fresh ginger
- 1 cardamom pod (crushed) or 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tbsp sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- 2 tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
- 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- ½ cup dried cranberries or raisins (unsweetened)
- Fruit such as bananas, sliced oranges, apricots, etc.
- ½ cacao nibs
- Rinse and drain buckwheat well.
- In a medium sauce pan, combine buckwheat with water, oat milk, salt and cinnamon stick if using. Bring to a simmer then cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer on low for 18-20 min. Similar to rice, the buckwheat will grow larger and become softer as some of the liquid is absorbed or evaporated. Once done, remove from heat. Because this recipe is for a porridge, we want the buckwheat at this step to be cooked, but not to have absorbed all of the liquid. The consistency should be like that of porridge or oatmeal. Discard the cinnamon stick (if using).
- In the same saucepan, add the remaining ingredients, making sure to stir until well-combined.
- Serve warm kasha porridge into 4 bowls and top with any desired additional ingredients such as shredded coconut, almonds, chia seeds, dried cranberries, fruit, and cacao nibs.
- Any remaining kasha porridge can be cooled down, then refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to three days. Just heat up the porridge on the stovetop again or eat it cold.
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