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May 5, 2011

Grechka

Unusual Russian Food: Grechka

Grechka (Buckwheat groats) is a cereal known mostly in Russia. Roasted whole-grain buckwheat is mainly used to make grechnevaya kasha, a fluffy porridge with a special, nutty aroma.

Buckwheat is one of the most nutritional cereals. It is rich in easily digestible proteins, vitamin B, and especially in rutin, an antioxidant that plays a role in restricting the spread of certain types of cancer.

These health benefits make grechka a popular dish in Russian kindergartens and schools. Children like to eat it with a little milk, and some add sugar to it.

Russians have eaten grechka, which is a product of flowering plants from the Polygonaceae family rather than a type of grass or any kind of wheat, for more than 1,000 years. But during the Soviet era it was, like many other products, officially defined as a “scarce food.” During this period, serving grechka was a sign of prosperity.

Grechka is prepared in basically the same way as rice, using a ratio of twice as much water as buckwheat and half a teaspoon of salt. It is important to cover the pan tightly with a lid and not to remove it or stir the mixture during the process. The porridge is ready when all the liquid has been absorbed into the buckwheat, softening the groats while individual grains remain whole and separate.

The porridge can be served with melted butter. Buckwheat porridge can be a meal in itself or can be a side dish, accompanying a meat main course.

One popular diet suggests that by eating nothing but grechnevaya kasha without butter for a week, you can lose 15 pounds.


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