Jicama and Buckwheat Salad

December 5, 2006 at 6:30 pm (B_(3 stars, like), Grains, Rebecca Wood)

I like this salad from the cookbook The Splendid Grain by Rebecca Wood. It’s hard to find recipes that call for kasha, and this one is worth hanging onto. The kasha flavor is definitely there, but distinctive. The combination of flavors is subtle, but unusual.  After a couple of days though the lime flavor mellowed and I felt like I needed some dressing on my salad.  I tried it once with field greens and 1/2 a grapefruit.  I thought it was a waste of the grapefruit.  On the other hand, I quite liked it with pomegranate seeds and/or Annie’s goddess dressing.

Start by cooking the kasha:

  • 1 cup unroasted buckwheat groats
  • 1 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbs. unrefined vegetable oil or unsalted butter
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Toast the groats in a saucepan or work over medium-high heat, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the color turns several shades darker and they give off a deep fragrance. For a stronger flavor, reduce the heat and toast for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until they turn a deep chestnut color.

Combine the water, oil, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Slowly pour in groats (dumping them in all at once will cause the pot to boil over). Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat. Let steam, covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

  • kasha from above recipe
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. ginger juice
  • 1 small (10 ounces) jicama
  • juice of 1 lime, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup coarsely grated granny smith apple
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste
  • 6 to 8 large red leaf lettuce leaves

Combine the kasha, sesame oil, and ginger juice in a very large bowl. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (I think this step is essential–if you try to mix the salad while the kasha is still has it will turn out very mushy.) Peel the jicama and cut into matchsticks. Place in a small nonreactive bowl with the lime juice and salt. Cover and marinate for 1 hour.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a saucepan or work over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, or until the seeds begin to pop. Remove from the heat and set aside 1 Tbs. When oool, coarsely chop the remaining seeds.

Combine the kasha, jicama, apple, chopped pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and Tabasco. Taste and adjust the seasonings with additional salt, Tabasco, and/or lime juice.

Line a serving platter or salad bowl with lettuce leaves. Mound the buckwheat salad in the center. Sprinkle with the whole pumpkin seeds and serve immediately.

My Notes

I think the buckwheat was just a tad overcooked. I might try cooking for 5 minutes and letting steam for 10 minutes. I needed way more than one lime. I added a whole extra lemon. I used 1/4 tsp. salt when I cooked the kasha, and a 1/4 tsp. salt to the jicama, but I think I could have used a bit more. The jicama is fine in this recipe, but doesn’t add a whole lot besides some crunch. I wonder if something else would work better? I cut down the pumpkin seeds to 1/4 cup, but I would put in the whole 1/3 cup next time. I might chop them a bit more coarsely though. I didn’t have Tabasco so used Chalula, another hot sauce. I added quite a bit! The salad is nice and spicy. Next time I might try adding one seeded jalepeno. I think slightly more ginger would be nice as well, maybe 1.5 tsp. ginger juice.

The recipe made quite a bit, maybe 8 cups? The author says it serves 6.

Rating: B

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