Buckwheat aka Kuttu, has got nothing to do with wheat, is not even a grain, rather a seed that is used like a grain. This ancient seed is said to have first been cultivated in Yunnan region of China on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau around 6000 BCE.
I like to refer Buckwheat as the Superflour of all flours that we use, specially in the Indian cuisine, for several reasons - a) it is gluten free, b) has high mineral content, c) is rich in antioxidants, and d) scores low on Glycemic Index!
The bounty of minerals that it come with are Iron, Zinc, Selenium, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Potassium.. just to list the most important ones, covering almost the entire body functions from blood to bones, metabolism to maintenance of tissues.
I had my first ever taste of Buckwheat as crepes in 2010; aah those delicious mushroom filled earthy luscious buckwheat crepes. Only last year I figured that Kuttu ka atta, used often during religious fasting in India, is actually Buckwheat.
Here's my version of 'Vrat' friendly Buckwheat crepes with paneer (cottage cheese) in a rich flavourful gravy made with nuts and seeds.
Buckwheat flour (kuttu ka atta) : 1 cup
Water chestnut flour (singhade ka atta) : 1/4th cup
Buttermilk : 1 cup/ 250ml
Paneer : 200 gms
Ginger & Green chilli paste : 1 tbsp
Ghee : 2 tbsp
Almonds : 7-8
Cashews : 7-8
Poppy (khus) seeds : 1 tbsp
Melon (kharbooja) seeds : 1 tbsp
Raisins : 1 tbsp
Asafoetida : 1 tsp
White pepper powder : 1 tsp (per taste)
Yoghurt : 1/2 cup
Kasoori methi (dry) : 1 tsp
Baking soda : 1/2 tsp (can be avoided)
Rock-salt to taste
Chopped coriander to finish the dish
A great way to eat buckwheat, this satvik meal shouldn't just be a 'once a year' Navratri treat, but something we should incorporate in our diets at least once a week.
Buckwheat, one of the world's healthiest foods, is a pseudocereal like quinoa, amaranth, chia seeds etc.
For the Buckwheat crepes
In a bowl incorporate the buckwheat flour, water chestnut flour, buttermilk, and salt, whilst whisking continuously. Adjust the buttermilk quantity to reach a smooth crepe batter consistency.
Let the batter sit in a cool dark place for 5-6 hours, you could leave it overnight in the refrigerator after that.
To make the crepes, pour a ladleful of the batter on a hot not-stick flat pan/ dosa tawa; let them cook on one side till you can see little bubble form on the surface, grease it lightly with ghee and turn over to cook from the other side.
Make more crepes in a similar way, each time wiping the pan clean to remove the greasiness.
For the Nuts & Seeds Paste
Soak almonds, cashews, raisins, poppy seeds and melon seeds in cool water, overnight or 6-8 hours.
Peel the almonds and throw away the peels.
Blend all the soaked nuts and seeds in a blender, adding some cool water if required to make a smooth thick paste.
Keep aside for the gravy
For the Curry
Cut fresh paneer in an inch cube pieces or however you really like them.
In a hot non-stick wok or pan add 1 tbsp of ghee.
Now add in asafoetida and cumin powder, along with the ginger and green chilli paste.
Stir and cook out the ginger before adding in the nuts and seeds paste.
Add in salt and white pepper and cook this for 5 minutes.
Next add in your yoghurt, stir well and cook for 10 minutes.
Add a dash of water if you want a thinner gravy.
Add in your paneer and cook for another 5 minutes.
In the end crush and add the dried kasuri methi and fresh coriander.
Viola! Your delicious, nutritious, satvik recipe is ready to be devoured.