Kasha (kah-shah) is an essential in-gredient in many Russian recipes. The word, in its pure form, means cooked buckwheat, but it is today applied to many other grains, including rice, sem-olina, oats and millet.

For generations kasha has been the staple diet of countless Russians. It is eaten with milk as a breakfast food, with vegetables as a sustaining luncheon, or simply boiled and eaten with lots of butter. Add a little meat, finely chopped, and kasha becomes a family meal. Nor need it stop there – with the addition of sour cream, mushrooms and chicken livers, kasha becomes a sophisticated dinner party dish.

To cook kasha preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C). Lightly grease an ovenproof casserole with a teaspoon of butter and set aside. Lightly toast 8 ounces kasha or buckwheat over moderate heat for 2 minutes, without any fat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add 1 egg to the pan and stir until all the grains are coated. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 minutes more, stirring constantly.

Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mixture to the casserole. Add

1 tablespoon butter,

½ teaspoon salt and

15 fluid ounces boiling water. Cover the casserole and bake in the oven for

20 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven. The kasha is now ready to serve or to use in other recipes.

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