I love buckwheat but I’ve been frustrated with it. Most of the time it just explodes into this muck in the pan and the texture is terrible. It still tastes decent, but it’s not as good as I remember from my childhood.

So I emailed my dad for his recipe. He made the original buckwheat I fell in love with. Now I know what I was doing wrong: cooking buckwheat just like other grains. It’s understandable. That’s how everyone says to do it on the internet: Two parts water, one part grain, cook until the water is gone. Unfortunately, that is a recipe for muck, not delicious buckwheat.

Here’s how to do it, straight from my dad [with a few comments from me in brackets]:

Saute onions lightly in oil [I’ve been adding garlic, shallots, and other alliums, and sauteing in butter. You can also caramelize them a bit.]

Add buckwheat and stir in with heat up [This step is crucial. If you bought toasted buckwheat, just heat it up. If you bought raw buckwheat, toast it in another pan before adding it to the onions. This is also when to add salt, if you’re not going to use soy sauce in the final dish.]

Then add water about 1/1 [That’s right, not 2:1!]

Turn down to simmer, let cook about 25 minutes and check for enough water. Sometimes you have to add a bit to get the right texture [You have to watch it, at least at first. I had a batch cook perfectly in less than 10 minutes. Other times it’s taken longer.]

You can run a knife down to the bottom of the pan (I recommend using a frypan with lid) to see if you have enough water. It will start getting hard at the bottom if there is not enough.

That will get you perfect, delicious buckwheat, hopefully on the first try. It’s hands-down my favorite food right now.

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