Kuttu or buckwheat doesn’t need jazzing up. It never did. In fact, none of India’s indigenous grains or millets need a ‘superfood’ tag to really fly off shelves. With each month, Indians shift very naturally between fruits, alternate grains, starches and even salts, which helps reenergise our body. We feast even when we fast- a concept that is only now taking off in the west. The problem is that we tend to be fazed easily, and instead of looking within the boundaries of our nation for inspiration, we’re trying to mimic what’s cool in the west. A New Zealand avocado is so much cooler than an Indian one, but why do we need to grow non-native “cool” fruits like avocados at all? Anywho, I digress.
The reason I decided on a recipe like this was because I wanted to showcase a dish with a European sensibility that uses something like buckwheat, which is native to us. I used buckwheat groats because they’re a good substitute to grains like quinoa, which are still quite expensive to buy. For the trend-conscious, you can completely do away with wheat and use buckwheat instead, cup for cup.
In the following recipe I have stuffed grilled mushroom caps with a cooked buckwheat groats and pesto mixture. It makes for a great appetizer idea. Any leftover pesto from the fridge will work here, and feel free to swap the micro greens with other chopped herbs you like.
Makes 12-16 cups
Buckwheat groats 1/2 cup (I used Sattvic Food’s Buckwheat Groats)
Maggi stock cube 1
Portobello mushrooms 12-16 caps ranging from small to medium, or 6-7 large
Olive oil for drizzling, plus extra 1-2 tsp
Red onion 1, finely chopped
Garlic 4 cloves, chopped
White wine 1-2 tbsp
Fresh oregano 2 tsp
Leftover pesto 2 tbsp, any will do
Salt and pepper
Greek yoghurt a few tablespoons, whipped till smooth, for topping the caps (creme fraiche or sour cream can work here too)
Microgreens to serve
Clean the buckwheat groats by rinsing it under tap water multiple times. In a small pot, add a cup of water and dissolve the stock cube. Bring the water to a boil, add in the buckwheat groats and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Put a lid on the groats and let it cook for about half an hour or until all the water has been absorbed and it’s quite dry. Fluff it up with a spoon and set it aside to cool for a bit.
Meanwhile scrub your mushrooms clean, take off their stems and get them ready for grilling by drizzling over some olive oil. Next, place them in a very hot oven directly under the grill for about 4 minutes. Turn the caps over and continue cooking for another 4 minutes. Take the mushrooms out of the oven and set them aside.
Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a frying pan and saute the onions and garlic together for two to three minutes. Splash in the 2 tbsp of wine, the peas, oregano, pesto and some salt and pepper and cook this on medium for a few more minutes till the peas is almost tender. Take it off the heat.
To assemble, spoon some of this groat mixture into a mushroom cap, top with a bit of the yoghurt and finish with some microgreens.