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???
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 ????
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....
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....
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 .
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.