It was one of those rare days when all the ingredients I expected to find were not there. It was after sesshin, and the shopping hadn’t arrived. Looking to the right of the empty spot in the pantry where the short-grain brown rice usually sat, I saw a few bags of buckwheat groats; and in the fridge a motley assortment of vegetables. Hmm, thought I, how about stir-fried buckwheat instead of rice? There were lots of onions, several courgettes, a few sticks of celery, a couple of bell peppers, and a jar of gherkins. Somehow it felt like an interesting plan, especially as wintry weather seems complemented best with earthy tones.
Besides, I love it when buckwheat doesn’t come out a sticky mess – and this recipe proves it possible!
300 g (1¾ cups) whole buckwheat groats
820 ml (3½ cups) water
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
60 g (½ cup) chopped walnuts, or 50 g (1 cup) dried soy slices (TVP)
3 medium carrots
1 large onion
3-4 celery stalks
1 red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
180 g (about 4 medium-large) pickled cucumbers (gherkins)
1 tablespoon dried dill
1½ teaspoons ground allspice
Dash white pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoons mustard
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dried dill
- Beat the egg and combine with the buckwheat groats.
- Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium flame. Add the buckwheat and stir constantly until all the grains dry out and separate. Put into a pot together with the water and a little salt, cover with a lid and bring to a boil over a medium flame. When it begins to boil, turn the flame low and simmer for about twenty minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the flame and set aside. Alternatively, cook in a rice cooker.
- If using soy slices, cover with hot water and stir in 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Leave to soften for about ten minutes.
- Peel and small-dice the carrots.
- Peel and medium-dice the onion.
- Medium-dice the celery stalks.
- Deseed and medium-dice the bell pepper.
- Medium-dice the pickled cucumbers.
- Peel and mince the garlic.
- When the soy slices are tender, drain and slice into slivers.
- Make the Mayo-Mustard Dressing by combining the mayonnaise, mustard and dill. Set aside.
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the soy slices and stir-fry for a few minutes until they begin to brown. Next, sprinkle with the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Stir-fry until the soy sauce and balsamic evaporate. Set aside.
- In a stew-pot over a medium-flame, add two tablespoons of olive oil and stir-fry the onions, bell peppers, carrots, and celery. Stir-fry until the carrots are tender and the onions and peppers start to caramelise.
- Add the garlic and stir-fry for a minute until the garlic releases its fragrance.
- Stir in the dill, allspice and white pepper.
- Put in the cooked buckwheat, toss together and stir-fry for a few minutes to marry the flavours.
- Mix in the gherkins, and walnuts if using.
- Serve the stir-fried buckwheat topped with a tablespoon of Mayo-Mustard Dressing.