Tuesday, June 12, 2007


earthy, hearty and perfect alongside a roast or brisket, this side dish is one that usually every ashkenazi jewish person remembers from childhood. while it is called kasha and bowties or kasha varnishkes in yiddish, the word kasha is a bit of a misnomer in that the real translation for it is actually cooked cereal or porridge — and one not necessarily from buckwheat.

as with all dishes, variations of this exist but the most popular way to make it is with lots of golden fried onions. often people will add sliced and sautéed mushrooms for added flavour. using chicken stock and schmaltz [chicken fat] makes a big difference when preparing it for a meat meal.

buckwheat groats come in four different granulations from fine to whole and are usually available in larger grocery stores in a box by the wolff company (see previous link). in this version, i used what i had on hand but standardly, people tend to use the medium or coarse grind, never fine. if using the whole grains, it will take longer to cook and be chewier. this is also what i did with all the farfalle/bowties [aka varni(t)shkes] i made earlier on. while few people are going to make their own, using storebought is standard practice — today one can get regular ones or wholewheat. some people also use the mini ones however they have a bit of a different shape.

for the traditional (non-wholegrain) version, look HERE.

kasha and bowties
buckwheat groats and pasta


1 c kasha, medium or whole granulation
1 egg or just the white

2 c stock or water
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper

1 or 2 large onions, cut in half & sliced thinly
1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)
1 small carton of white mushrooms, sliced (optional)
2 - 3 tbsp oil

1 - 1 1/2 c bowtie pasta, small or regular sized


cook pasta, drain and set aside.

mince the garlic if using, slice the onion(s), and mushrooms (opt.)

crack the egg in a bowl and add the kasha groats. mix well to coat the grains.

over medium heat, in a non-stick pan, cook the kasha for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly and separating the grains as they cook. this is essential. if you omit this, the kasha will be mushy. once cooked, place in a separate bowl or on a plate to cool.

in a fry pan, over medium low heat, place the oil and heat it. add the onion and cook until it is golden brown. near the end, add the minced garlic if using. move to a plate to cool.

if using the mushroom, add them to the same pan and cook until they are softened and have released all their juices. cook until they are no longer watery. add these to the plate with the onion and garlic.

in a fry pan with a lid, place the kasha over medium heat and warm it up in a bit of oil. add the stock and bring it to boil quickly over high heat. place the lid on the mixture and turn the heat to low and let it cook for about 10 to 15 minutes for the medium grind kasha and up to 25 minutes for the whole grain kasha. the whole grain will be chewier in texture. you may need up to a 1/2 c more water for the whole granulation. i actually cook the whole ones in a pressure cooker to ensure they are soft all the way through (~ 10 to 12 min in PC).

once cooked, add the onions and mushrooms and stir well. add the salt and pepper and stir again. now add the pasta and mix to combine.

serve as a side dish. it goes great with brisket or pot roast type dishes. also great on its own. believe it or not, (kikkoman's) teriyaki sauce adds wonderful flavour to the final dish! try it and see.



Pamela said...

You made my week. Todah.


burekaboy — said...

hi pam - b'vakashah :D thanks for commenting.

Meredith said...

ketchup tastes fabulous with this dish as well!

burekaboy — said...

meredith - thanks for the comment and visit.

didn't ever think to try it with ketchup! something to remember for the next time.....