Buckwheat patties might not be your ordinary go-to dinner, but let me convince you otherwise. Imagine biting into a crispy pattie, which will instantly remind you of the texture of a rice cake. You hear the satisfying crunch of the slightly puffed up cereal, followed by an amalgam of fresh and spicy flavours from red onion, turmeric, ground coriander and paprika.
Unlike many vegan patties, buckwheat patties are studier, not at all mushy and offer the chance to properly bite into them. Before these patties, I never ever cooked with buckwheat before. When we lived in Japan, we once ordered a surprise tea from the menu. It was before the time when we could even read hiragana, so we pointed out to whatever item resembled hot tea. To my surprise, I received a hot beverage with a nutty, slightly earthy taste. Very pleasant but totally unusual and unrecognisable.
It took years before I found it again, in a Korean shop in Budapest. To pay by card, we just needed a couple more euros added to our shopping so I picked up a random box of tea located by the cashier. It acquired dust for many weeks before, one evening, I decided to try as I really fancied some caffeine-free tea. My heart skipped a beat. The moment I smelled that light scent I only ever experienced in Japan, I knew, then and there, that I somehow managed to find that very tea I once felt in love with. It took years and a journey across the planet, to find it, by complete coincidence. As my lips met the nutty, earthy taste of buckwheat tea, I got overwhelmed by a warm inner feeling: I finally felt home.
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It was a strange, peaceful feeling of true happiness. But just like love at first sight, some things in life are not so easily describable.
Sadly, my love affair with buckwheat tea did not meet a happy ending at the time. Addicted to my new healthy, non-caffeinated discovery, I'd go to the Korean shop on a weekly basis, in pursuit of boxes upon boxes of buckwheat tea. Until one day, then buckwheat tea was on the shelves no longer. And so, I waited, and waited, until, eventually, I gave up.
I searched for buckwheat tea in many bio shops and markets but to no avail. However, my husband recommended that we instead try to make our own. We bought buckwheat groats from a bio shop, roasted it ourselves and steeped it in boiling water. While the taste was no match to the Japanese original, I settled for this solution for the time being.
And so, we began shopping for buckwheat. Fast forward two years now (wow where does time fly?), and I looked at my little bag of buckwheat thinking: what else are you good for?
Turns out, not many dishes incorporate buckwheat groats. Buckwheat groats are commonly used in western Asia and eastern Europe. I decided to run an experiment. What if I cooked the buckwheat in the normal 2:1 water ratio, as per the packaging instructions, but make them similar to my millet patties? What if the buckwheat turns out to be crunchy and not mushy like a bean? Well, turns out cereals are a lot better suited for burger patties, in my opinion. They preserve their consistency and shape a lot better.
What is buckwheat
You know that since I went plant-based I became super interested in learning all about different types of grains, cereals and beans. I'm also discovering so many vegetables I had no idea how to cook with. It's actually an interesting journey of culinary discovery and one I'm so glad to share with you.
Well, buckwheat is a pseudocereal because we use the seeds for culinary use the same as cereals but in reality, buckwheat is actually related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb. When you see how buckwheat groats look like you will seriously question its relation with rhubarb.
Buckwheat is not a new plant, even though we don't seem to use it that much. But it wasn't always the case as this precious pseudocereal was very much popular before the 20th century when with the adaptation of nitrogen fertiliser other crops became a lot easier to grow, therefore more valuable.
In fact, the mightly buckwheat was first cultivated in Southeast Asia sometimes around 6000 BCE. It eventually made its way towards Europe. Buckwheat was one of the earliest crops introduced by Europeans to North America.
When you look at the nutritional value of buckwheat, it's even more puzzling why we don't introduce it in our modern diet more. In 100 grams of cooked buckwheat, you get only 92 calories and around 20% of your daily protein. It contains a healthy amount of dietary fibre, vitamin B, minerals and magnesium.
And the best thing about buckwheat? It's naturally gluten-free which means you can eat it without an issue if you have any gluten-related disorder. Have you ever heard of buckwheat flour? That's also safe to use. If you decide to buy a buckwheat related product make sure to check the ingredients so you have no gluten contamination.
How to make buckwheat patties
Did I convince you to try my awesome buckwheat patties? Great because I'm really excited to share my invention with you. You will need some raw buckwheat groats, boiling water, one small red onion, half a cup of flour, liquid smoke, tomato sauce, a little turmeric, paprika, ground coriander, rosemary, some salt and a little oil for frying.
This recipe is so easy, you won't even believe it. Bring 250 ml of salted water to boil. Add 125 g of buckwheat groats and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes until the buckwheat absorbs all the water.
Transfer to a large bowl and let it cool until you can handle it with your hands. Add half a cup of flour (65 g), a teaspoon of liquid smoke, 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce, a teaspoon of turmeric, a teaspoon of paprika, a teaspoon of rosemary, a teaspoon of ground coriander and combine it all with your hands. You should get a sticky mixture, ready to be shaped into buckwheat patties. Heat up a little oil in a frying pan and fry the patties for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden.
You can either create 4 large buckwheat burgers or 8 small buckwheat patties. They are best served hot. If you want to eat them later, best store the "raw" mixture in an airtight container and fry them just before you fancy eating them. This way you can enjoy them nice and fresh.
This recipe has been developed entirely by Yuzu Bakes. Any resemblance with other recipes is purely coincidental.