that’s also great for your garden
A great, easy-to-grow, grain-free, flour option
People tend to think of buckwheat as a grain. It sort-of looks like one and it is categorised as one from a culinary perspective.
But buckwheat is not a grain or a grass or related to wheat. Its closest relatives are sorrel and rhubarb. It has been cultivated for over 3000 years in mountainous regions like Tibet and northern China where wheat will not grow at high altitudes.
Buckwheat noodles are a major feature of Japanese (soba), Korean, Russian and northern European culture. The groats (hulled seeds) are commonly made into porridge, eaten raw, or can be sprouted.
The current trend is to ‘activate’ or soak buckwheat before using it. Pancakes made from activated seeds have become my new favourite breakfast for their nutty, earthy taste. Whenever possible, I use organic groats.
Buckwheat pancakes and I go back a long way. I like to think the reason I love buckwheat so much is because I was conceived in Canada, home of buckwheat flapjacks (pancakes). Somehow, a snapshot of a whole stack of flapjacks with a knob of butter between each one, dripping in cascades of maple syrup, is an iconic Canadian image for me.
I asked my dad if he remembers eating these when he lived in Canada in the 1960s, working in bush camps as a young man. He remembers lots of flapjacks and that every table had pepper, salt, and a squirt can of maple syrup.
Flapjacks are hefty, thick cakes made with baking powder or soda, creating hundreds of little air holes for the maple syrup to soak into.
However the French side of Canada must have snuck into my culinary preference genes at a crucial moment because I don’t like thick pancakes. I much prefer crêpes, the thinner the better, with slightly crunchy sides.
That means pancake day at our house is a double pan affair. There’s me pouring in a minimum of batter and quickly tilting the pan to spread out the mix as thinly as possible. My other half Paul is Canadian to the core (by birth), cooking his much thicker, soak-up-the-syrup flapjacks.
I have included both recipes. The ‘ two-ser’ one is from my Canadian brother-in-law Chris. The activated crêpe version is from my talented circus acrobat friend Damara, who lives at the Riverside Community in Motueka.
Chris’s mix is made from buckwheat flour and is not soaked overnight. Damara’s version is soaked. Soaked buckwheat groats are also known as ‘ buckinis’.
If you’re interested in grain-free eating, Kristina would like to introduce you to a good friend. Words Kristina Jensen