Wednesday, April 14, 2010

buckwheat : our indiginous desi healthfood and a videshi soup with it | buckwheat tomato bell peppers soup...


Buckwheat soup with tomatoes and bell peppers. Healthy and superbly tasty. Talking about all the health food has become such a fad that we all have a fairly good knowledge of most of the healthy food around, the only problem is that we do not include those health food in our regular diet. As if just knowing is enough. Well, most of us think like this. Right ??

It is a common thinking that all the healthy ingredients are expensive and that most of them are imported, the reality is quite heartwarming, so many of the indigenous grains,  vegetables, fruits and herbs are there to devour and to be proud of. Only if we stop fancying the avocados and quinoa and the artichokes and the ever so fashionable olive oil. All these imports are wonderful but if we can find locally grown less processed health produce in our own country there is no need to be in awe of these beautifully packaged and efficiently marketed imported health food produce.

We grow so many healthy grains and vegetables which are still consumed in our rural areas, those healthy products are not distributed and marketed well in our country. So much so that when I was talking to a senior cardiologist some time back, he was unaware that flax seed is grown in plenty in our own country (he thought it is an imported product and that is why the flax seed oil and supplements are so costly) he was astonished to know that alsi ka laddo (a sweet meat made with flaxseeds and jaggery) is a traditional recipe. Though I was happy to know that he too thinks that mustard and sesame oils are as healthy as the olive oil.

Isn't it a great respite when we are still grappling with rising prices of essential staples and healthy ingredients seem to be far from the reach of the ''aam aadmi''. The great Indian middle class. It's high time we start hunting for the forgotten treasures. Yes , the healthy indigenous grains are not available off the shelf and you will find expensive jars of imported oats, muesli, couscous and polenta jostling for space at your neighborhood store. The grains that I am talking about have to be sourced from wholesale markets and from village sources.

There are so many types of grains grown in our country like bajra, jowar, ragi, kulath, jau, jai, sama, kodo, tinni ka chawal, ramdana, kuttu or rajgira apart from the regular wheat, rice and corn we usually consume. Even the wheat and rice are consumed in their refined form. Right???

And hey, do you know the names of these grains I just named? Or have seen any of them? You'll surely know them by their English names (or ask me for vernacular names) and all of these grains are available in health food stores all over the world. In our country you'll find them in some desi style grocery stores too, poor marketing to blame!!!

Kuttu is the grain behind soba noodles, the grain which is not a cereal but the fruit seed . Called buckwheat. Interestingly it has been used for fasting food (Hindu fasting food especially during navaratri  in our country for time immemorial. There are so many traditional recipes using the grain or it's flour and when I posted a savory pancake on my other blog, I received some queries regarding this grain and here I am.

I did not find this grain anywhere in Delhi, though the flour was available during the navaratri. Fortunately I had to visit Kanpur for a day and found it there. I found both the groats (called kuttu ka daliya) as well as the whole grains with skin. Groats or the kuttu ka daliya can be used for cooking but the whole seeds are used to make the flour as I was told. But I think grinding the groats at home is the best way to make fresh flour as it is a soft grain and powders easily.

Here is the beautifully shaped groats or kuttu daliya ........


And the whole grains with the seed coat........



Buckwheat is called the king of healing grains because it is a great prebiotic food, a gluten free grain and is rich in manganese, tryptophan , magnesium and dietary fiber. It is rich in flavonoids, particularly rutin. Flavonoids are phytonutrients which protect against diseases by extending the action of  Vit. C and acting as antioxidants.

It is great for your cardiovascular system, for a better blood sugar control n a lowered risk of diabetes, helps prevent gallstones too, see this link to know more...

The nutrition facts of buck wheat are here...it is not a low calorie grain as one serving of a cup (164 g) contains 567 Calories but when it cooked with vegetables each serving has about half this amount and it can be a great weight loss food.

The soup recipe which I am posting here contains just a tbsp of raw buckwheat per serving. It expands a lot after cooking. Also, it is a low GI food (Glycemic index is 54) and it is suitable for weight watchers for obvious reasons.

I made a simple soup with buckwheat groats after writing the above information for this post and it was such a yummy yet light dinner for the two of us, very very flavorful. Talking about a healthy ingredient always inspires me to cook healthy. Does it have the same effect on you ????

ingredients....

buckwheat groats ( kuttu ka daliya) 2 tbsp ...it expands a lot after cooking as o told
fully ripe large tomatoes 2 nos.
2-3 fat cloves of garlic
red chilly powder 1 tsp or as much you like
1 stick of cinnamon broken into small pieces 
salt to taste
sugar 1 tsp
butter 1 tsp

any other vegetables of your choice can be added too....

procedure..

Dry roast the buckwheat groats in a skillet (this is optional but I recommend as it improves the flavor).

Add 500 ml water and salt to taste and boil till cooked.....it needs occasional stirring on low heat....


This is how it looks after cooking , the water is reduced a bit. I like the buckwheat remaining whole n completely softened after cooking as it gives a nice bite , you can cook more if you like it mushy and pulpy.

Meanwhile chop the garlic finely and make a raw puree of tomatoes in food processor.

Heat butter in another pan and throw in the cinnamon and garlic and fry till the garlic is pink.

Add red chilly powder into the pan, stir and immediately pour the raw tomato puree and salt (cooked buckwheat has salt too so be careful  and sugar and cook till the tomato sauce thickens and becomes smooth .

Pour onto the cooked buckwheat and add some water (depending on how thick a soup you want)and give it a boil.


The soup is ready with all it's simplicity. Bursting with flavors of garlic and tomatoes. Just the way I like it. Basil is a great addition to this soup but i din't add it this time as it has been a basil overdose in the past couple of days for me.

If you are adding other vegetables you can saute' the veggies cut in strips with the garlic or even separately and top the soup with it. As I did it this time, I wanted some bell peppers in my soup and as my husband is allergic to them I sauteed the strips of colored bell peppers in the same pan without any additional butter (the pan in which I made the tomato sauce) and topped my bowl of soup with it. This way we both had our own soups in our favorite smiley bowls.........


This soup has prominent flavors of garlic and tomatoes and I like it hot with red chillies, you can adjust the simple seasonings according to your taste and this soup accommodates any  kind of herbs very well. Try it with soba noodles if you don't find any buckwheat groats in your part of the world.

Also, if you avoid garlic and use rock salt instead of table salt in this recipe, it can be had during Navaratri fasting too.

29 comments:

  1. Hi Sangeeta thanks for visiting my blog and giving a nice comment.U r always welcome to my blog.You too have a nice blog and I shall also visit u often.

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  2. Thanks for visiting my blog after a long time and for your lovely comment.
    I liked the preparation of the soup. Very nice and interesting recipe. Soup looks yummy, spicy and creamy. Wonderful presentation.

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  3. so true, while rushing behind the latest and greatest in health food trends we somehow forget to nurture our traditional health foods grown in our own backyards. Buckwheat soup looks delicious.. I have never cooked with buckwheat in the groats form, but seeing your post now, I so want to, if only I can find it..

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  4. this is a great post Sangeeta you make such good points, the traditional Indian diet is so healthy I always learn from my mum in law, LOL

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  5. Typing again..don't know if the first comment went through..
    Lovely dish with Buckwheat. Love any dish made with any form of wheat.Recently I tried "Turkish Tabbouleh" with Bulgur. Check it out when you have time. You might find it to your liking!

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  6. Enjoyed reading your write-up, I agree with you more' many indegenous varieties are loaded with essential nutrients...I believe in spending money on locally grown, very much available stuff'. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe, very comforting one':)

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  7. this looks so delicious and healthy too..great way to make soup like this and so so tasty..very comforting and something that doesn't cost us a lot but pays back great in health..

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  8. This is beautiful. Your reminder that local foods are often just as good, plentiful. flavorful and delicious are well noted.

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  9. Wish I could join in for this warming nutritious soup :D

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  10. Nice info dear.....u r so right when desi stuff is packed in fancy packing & priced 4-5 times more it sounds more healthy to many people....soup looks very inviting....

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  11. my heart jumped with joy when I saw your post in my dashboard. am on leave so missed your last 2 posts...Welcome back Dear. this is a wonderful informative write up. the soup looks creamy and mouth watering but not sure if we get these in b'lr or Kolkata.

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  12. hey what a coincidence.....i read this post of urs this morning before making the pasta.....and today evening when i went grocery shopping i saw this buckwheat (russian produce) in my neighbouring grocery store...i am in US and this store is a chinese franchise.....i told my husband this is a divine connection :-) he encouraged me to buy it and try it out.....
    i am gonna try this tomorrow and will let u know how it turns out to be...i have eaten rotis from kuttu ka atta before during fasting but had no idea the reason behind it is as its made from fruit seed....it is allowed...nice! will let my dadi/mom know , i feel they might not know too :)
    cheers
    crazy!

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  13. Hey Crazy....this is really crazy....
    i believe in divine connections .
    try this recipe with the groats and the savory pancakes too , you'll have to grind the buckwheat to make them , check out the recipe here...
    http://banaraskakhana.blogspot.com/2010/03/vrat-ka-khana-kuttu-ki-tikki-buckwheat.html

    you really delight me...thanks .

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  14. sangeeta, this looks great and delicious...will try it out.....do u watch english movies? i would recommend Julie Julia..it was oscar nominated for this year......its about cooking and is very enjoying....u will know why i am asking u to watch it....

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  15. Yes i watch English movies but Julie n Julia i could not....the time it released was a turbulent time in my life but i read some reviews n know that it is about a food blogger .......
    movies in a theater was out of question for me for several years so i watched only on HBO and Star movies ( on TV of course ) .... now that you recommend i'll not wait for it on TV n get a DVD instead.
    It will give me a much needed positive boost i am sure n thanks for that..

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  16. wow sangeeta such a tempting and healthy soup...nice recipe, looks so tempting...no doubt that ual njoyed it...i dint know abt this grain...thnx for sharing...loved the other info also

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  17. so i made the soup today :-) and it turned out to be awesome......u wont believe that i used to hate garlic while growing up and just started adding garlic to my food 3 years back.....after i came to know it helps in high blood pressure...i loved it...although was feeling guilty while adding butter..am writing this while having my bowl of soup....( i dont have any smiley bowl though ;-)
    regarding the movie..u will identify with both the characters of julie and julia.....and i am sure u will love the movie....waiting for ur feedback...

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  18. Good to know that you started adding garlic to your food...it is such a great antioxidant besides helping fight with infections and of course high BP .......a tea spoon of butter is good with garlic n all that tomatoes , how else will you get the goodness of lycopene which is only fat soluble n you know butter is good ......only if don't overindulge.
    1 tsp of butter to make 2 servings of soup gives you guilt pangs......pagli !!

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  19. yes thats bcoz i use minimal amount of oil/ghee in my cooking, every vegetable has only 1tsp of oil and i make 4-5 servings (almost half pan)
    our total oil consumption in a complete day is atmost 3 tsp for 2 ppl

    coincidentally i noticed that i follow ur style of cooking.....i add cumin (mostly) mustard (sometimes) , ..green chillies, garlic,ginger dry red chillies.. to almost all veggies/daal and i also add water to compensate for oil...cook everything in covered pan.. only cook 1 or 2 vegetables in pressure cooker (lauki and recently zucchini aalu sabji - try it if u havent so far) , what i mean to say is your recipes are very easy for me to adopt as i already cook in the same style....:) also as u mentioned ur recipes are quick ones..i hate spending a lot of time in kitchen....although i cook wholesome food..i want it to be quick....

    i also have to reduce weight and thatshow i landed up on ur page as i cant do dieting (causes headache) and i love all green/colored vegetables...

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  20. i actually made 3 servings of soup not 2..still guilty :) :)

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  21. hmm...there is sure a divine connection........i too get headaches when i don't eat on time or even think of "diet" ......

    Regarding my style of cooking , yes it is suitable for everybody who wants a wholesome meal and doesn't want to slave the stove.......many of my friends have adopted my style of cooking and that was the first motivation for me to start a blog........i am happy that it was easier for you to follow my instructions.......for anything you want to know...and for the divine connection to esablish.......sangeetaamkhanna@gmail.com

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  22. Hi Sangeeta, I am a huge fan of buckwheat and use buckwheat flour and buckwheat noodles often. I happen to have a pack of buckwheat grits right now.I am planning to make this soup.This sure looks tempting :)

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  23. Awesome. Shall try to replicate at home after haunting my organic guys for this. Apparently things like amaranth are grown in villages, the cities don't demand as much, so we rarely see these in the regular grocery stores. One store told me - take this, this is gram flour....it is the same as ramdaana!!

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    Replies
    1. We get mos of the grains in Delhi thankfully. Amaranth grains are also caled Ramdaana in Hindi, the Ramdaana ka laddoo is quite easily available here , though in some shops only.

      Yes, the store keepers can be mean in marketing at their level :(

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  24. This is such a good tasting soup and so easy and quick to make. Thanks Sangeeta for another wonderful recipe. I added 2-3 tsp of yogurt and topped with 2-3 pita chips, Yummy :) While Boiling the buckwheat groats, there was froth ( i boiled without salt) , did not discard it. Is that normal Sangeeta?

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  25. I have 2 comments - one please can you tell me the english names for kulath,jai, sama, kodo, tinni ka chawal. Many thanks. Also a lot of the above mentioned are easily found in Navdanya - I went to the one in hauz khas and kuttu ka daliya, whole kuttu and kuttu ka sattu were all available in addition to many other such grains

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    Replies
    1. Kulath is Horse gram
      Jai is Oats (Jau is barley)
      sama is barnyard millet
      kodo is a millet (botanical name Paspalum scrobiculatum) whose English name is kodo millet too.
      tinni ka chawal is most probably Proso millet
      Yes Navdanya stocks almost everything and I love getting all these millets and alternative grains there. Thanks for the info.

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