Some dishes suffer from even the tiniest modification, but sometimes what seems a daring crazy fusion idea proves one of the most natural harmony of flavours and textures. Such was the case with buckwheat groats with eringi mushrooms, both seasoned with teriyaki glaze.
Buckwheat grains/groats (sometimes labelled “kasha”) are dried, slightly triangular seeds of a plant (Fagopyrum genus) which is not a grass, nor a cereal, even though it looks like one and is not related to wheat. They are very rich in protein, contain minerals, antioxydants, iron and are gluten free, so they can be consumed by people who don’t tolerate it or try to reduce it. They are particularly popular in certain Eastern and Central European countries, usually consumed in a toasted, nutty tasting version. Reduced to flour, buckwheat is consumed in other countries too and soba noodles are probably now the best known product.
Even though soba noodles are widely consumed, all the Japanese I asked have never tasted untransformed groats. Porridge-like dishes, made with non-toasted groats do exist in Japan (thank you, Hiroyuki, for the links), but I guess it’s difficult to find their fans… Meanwhile, in several Eastern and Central European countries buckwheat groats have been a part of traditional diet for a long time, often served with dishes in sauce, as a carb side-meal, instead of potatoes or bread. Their toasted version is the one most people prefer and know (actually I discovered the non-toasted one only some years ago, finding it utterly bland and pointless). When cooked, they have a smokey, nutty aroma, a slightly crunchy texture (there is a certain resemblance to quinoa or barley) and are perfect with mushroom dishes.
Obviously, I wasn’t surprised that eringi (also called king oyster mushroom, Pleurotus Eryngii), as a particularly versatile mushroom, went well with both buckwheat and teriyaki sauce. Luckily the latter also proved a dream seasoning for buckwheat groats. In short, a simple but delicious autumn recipe I’ll be making with other mushrooms too.
In case you wonder what else to do with buckwheat, you can also fry it like you do with leftover rice:
TIPS: Buckwheat groats are not such a crowd-pleaser as white rice, for example, mainly because of their texture, but also because of the strong flavour, so don’t be surprised if you don’t like them (if you are a quinoa/barley fan, there are more chances you like them).
I strongly advise against buying non-toasted, light greenish buckwheat groats. Most buckwheat groats lovers (including me) hate this bland, softer form. Toasted buckwheat groats are luckily easy to recognise: they are simply brown.
Buckwheat groats are easy to overcook (mushy ones are not good at all…), so respect the cooking time and don’t worry if it doesn’t work for the first time. Sometimes it depends on the brand, on the pan, etc..
I prefer my teriyaki sauce less sweet than the one usually served in Japanese restaurants, but feel free to add more mirin or sugar.
Preparation: about 30 minutes
Ingredients (serves two):
150 g/about 5,3 oz toasted buckwheat groats
1/2 teaspoon salt
300 g/about 10,5 oz eringi (king oyster) mushrooms, sliced
9 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons sake
3 tablespoons mirin (sweet cooking sake)
(freshly ground pepper)
Put the buckwheat groats into a cup.
Measure the double of the buckwheat’s volume in water.
Pour the water into a pan. Bring it to a boil, add the salt.
Throw the buckwheat into the pan and let it cook partially covered at medium heat for about ten minutes.
Lower the heat and let it simmer, fully covered, for about 5 more minutes.
The water should be completely absorbed by the grains. If it’s not absorbed yet, put the pan aside, leave the cover on and it will get absorbed without cooking too. (If it’s absorbed, cover the pan anyway and put it aside keeping it warm).
Heat the glaze ingredients in a pan until it thickens.
Grill the mushrooms on a grill or hot pan brushed with oil.
Turn them after 5 minutes and cook 3 more minutes.
Warm the teriyaki glaze while grilling the mushrooms. Mix 2/3 of it with buckwheat groats and 1/3 with mushrooms.
Taste the buckwheat and add some more soy sauce if it’s not salty enough.
Serve the mushrooms on top of buckwheat.
(Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper).