From time to time I have written about grains of the world, many which were less well known than our traditional wheat, soybeans, rice, and barley: teff, amaranth and sorghum come to mind. During COVID-19, Tracy and I were foraging further afield and came across an exotic grain in the Bob’s Red Mill collection of “Grains of Discovery,” and decided to give new ones a try.
The package we bought claimed it was an organic whole grain in the Eastern European Tradition. Having never been to Eastern Europe we took Bob’s word for it that this grain was like “roasted buckwheat groats,” only with more earthy flavor and hot porridge appeal.
In English, the word kasha usually means a cereal consisting of buckwheat grains. True to its packaging, the original grain does seem to originate from East-Central Europe. It seems to be a pseudo-cereal kernel with different ways to prepare it: boiling, baking, frying, or soaking and stewing. Served with water or milk, kasha often gets boiled into a hot groats porridge. We like to make stews so we gave it a try.
The sad fact is that when we ate the boiled kasha, it smelled very strong and it tasted terrible. We would not recommend it as a starch or grain substitute for future porridges or stews. It has a very earthy flavor and the kasha turns the color of the entire grain dish to a dismal brown. There may be some terrific ways to prepare kasha to be more palatable and tasty, but we have not found one. We will keep looking for other grain and not spend more time trying to make this one work for our meals.