My favourite grain has to be buckwheat. I like quinoa, I like millet, and as a Bengali, I have rice instead of blood in my veins, but buckwheat has my heart. I love its texture, or “mouthfeel” as my food-scientist friend would put it. And it is so good for you! Full of complex carbohydrates and protein, it’s also naturally gluten-free.
In the USA, I got acquainted with buckwheat in the form of pancakes which I used to love. But it is out here in Germany that I found the whole grain being sold in my favourite drugstore dm. So after eyeing it for a few years, I bought a bag two years ago and then forgot about it for a few months. One day I cooked it whole, instead of making a flour out of it, and right away fell in love with its nutty flavour.
Living as we do in land-locked south Germany, I don’t have access to the huge range of fish that people in other places have. This is hard for a Bengali, because while our blood is made of rice, our bones are made of fish. Nevertheless, I have access to some excellent MSC certified frozen fish. And as far as taste goes, I really prefer fish that has been flash-frozen right after they are caught and sold frozen, to fish that has been languishing on ice for who knows how long and were probably thawed out in the first place.
I like salmon, because it closely approximates some of my favourite fish from Bengal. I broil it, or make a hearty fish curry with it, and the other day, made a scramble out of it with some Indian spices and aromatics. Good eats!
Recipe: Buckwheat and scrambled salmon
1 cup of buckwheat
4 cups of water
2 salmon fillets
1 onion chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
1 small stick cinnamon
2 cardamom pods cracked
quarter tsp turmeric
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp oil
Chopped chillies (optional)
Chopped coriander or parsley
- Cook buckwheat as per package instructions in a pot. I use my little pressure cooker and it gets done in a jiffy.
- Steam or poach fish until flaky. Using two forks, pull apart the fish into chunks
- Heat oil and add the cinnamon and cardamom. Fry till aromatic.
- Add the onion and bell-pepper and chillies (if using) and stir fry until soft.
- Add garlic, ginger, salt and turmeric and stir fry for a few seconds
- Add the fish and mix well until everything is well incorporated.
- Take off heat and sprinkle lemon juice to taste.
- I had some cubed, cooked potato in the mixture as well, but you can omit it if you are not a Bengali!