Your versatile buckwheat recipes work a treat, any time of day
Following a fortnight of stews and cheese, this week's buckwheat recipes offered a much-needed health kick, with knockout results. I've had a lean, light dinner of spicy Korean noodles from Marmaduke Scarlet, a creamy buckwheat breakfast courtesy of Thenectarcafe, and a seasonal veggie curry from MizPepperpot.
But it hasn't all been about good intentions - Foodforaking's gorgeous chocolate, hazelnut and buckwheat crepes made up for any other healthy behaviour. I'd recommend topping with vanilla ice-cream. But the star of the show was Fadime Tiskaya's versatile yoghurty salad. I had it as a satisfying lunch at my desk, a prep-ahead starter, and used dairy-free yoghurt in a suitable main for my vegan friends. With buckwheat groats, herbs and garlic as a base, this would work year-round with whatever seasonal vegetables became available.
The winning recipe: Buckwheat salad with yoghurt and sumac topped with roasted root vegetables
The name of this salad probably says everything about it because it is simple, healthy and elegant, yet at the same time totally delicious. The creamy texture of the yoghurt base and the sharp lemony taste of sumac marry beautifully with the nutty flavour of the buckwheat and the sweetness of the beetroots and carrots. Feel free to use any other root vegetable that you fancy.
Fadime Tiskaya, via GuardianWitness
Serves 4-6 as starter
3 medium beetroots, peeled and cubed
4 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little more to serve
8 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and ground black pepper
150g roasted buckwheat
380g plain Greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove, finely crushed
2 tbsp ground sumac
A handful each of finely chopped parsley, mint and dill, plus extra leaves to serve
3 celery sticks, chopped into small cubes
Salt and ground black pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Put the beetroots and carrots on separate baking trays with four thyme sprigs each, coat them with the olive oil, salt and pepper then seal with foil. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until soft, and then let them cool.
2 Meanwhile, boil the buckwheat on a low heat with the lid on for about 10-12 minutes until the wheat soaks up all of the water and becomes soft. Transfer the buckwheat to a bowl and let it cool.
3 In a separate large bowl, mix together the yoghurt, garlic, sumac, parsley, mint, dill and the celery, then season with salt and pepper. Add the buckwheat and mix it all together.
4 Assemble the salad on a large serving plate, starting with the yoghurt and buckwheat mixture at the bottom and top with the roasted root vegetables and the herbs. Drizzle some olive oil on top if you like, then serve.
Korean cold buckwheat noodle soup with beef (naengmyeon)
Years ago, when I was working in New York, I loved that the office was within toddling distance of Koreatown and lots of interesting places to have lunch. One of my favourite dishes was actually one that is popular in the summer - naengmyeon, a cold broth with buckwheat noodles - but it can be enjoyed all year around. It's a great lunchbox meal, too.
Marmaduke Scarlet, via GuardianWitness
For the noodles
300g buckwheat noodles
1 tbsp sesame oil
Pickled carrots/kimchi, to serve (optional)
Half a cucumber, chopped, to serve
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
Toasted sesame seeds, to serve
For the radish pickle
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 red chilli, pureed
100g radishes, cut into matchsticks
For the chilli broth
200ml chicken or beef stock
4 tbsp gochujang chilli paste
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
For the stir-fried beef
2 tbsp vegetable oil
300g beef steak, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 spring onions, green part only, thinly sliced, plus extra to serve
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 First make the pickle by whisking the vinegar with the sugar and salt until dissolved. Stir it through the chilli puree and radishes. Set aside.
2 To make the chilli broth, gently warm the stock together with gochujang chilli paste, sugar, sesame seeds, sesame oil and chopped garlic. Stir until the gochujang has melted. Season to taste. Set aside.
3 Cook the noodles to packet instructions (about 5 minutes). Drain and rinse, then toss with sesame oil. Set aside.
4 Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat. Add the beef and garlic, before adding the rest of the ingredients. Stir-fry until the beef is just seared (about 2 minutes). Season with black pepper. Set aside to cool.
5 Divide the noodles between 4 bowls. Pour over the chilli broth. Top with beef, pickled carrots, cucumber and hard-boiled eggs. Sprinkle with extra spring onion tops and toasted sesame seeds.
Chocolate buckwheat crepes
Buckwheat crepes or pancakes, also known as Gallettes de Sarrasin, are associated with the region of Brittany in France, and were often used as a replacement for bread. Savoury recipes include egg and cheese, but here is my luxurious chocolate version.
Foodforaking, via GuardianWitness
100g buckwheat flour
A pinch of salt
1 heaped tbsp good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp light brown sugar
50g butter, melted
50g nut chocolate block (Cadbury's blocks are ideal), chopped into thin shards
1 tbsp sunflower or rapeseed oil
Creme fraiche, to serve
1 Put the flour, salt, cocoa powder and sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix together then crack in the egg.
2 Mix the milk and water. Add the milk mixture a little at a time, beating into a batter. Whisk until smooth and leave to rest for a least an hour (or overnight).
3 Once rested, stir the melted butter into the batter. Whisk until smooth. Lightly oil a heavy frying pan and heat slowly. Pour a small amount of batter into hot pan, rolling it around to cover the surface. It should bubble quickly, showing small holes.
4 Flip the pancake over and sprinkle with chocolate. Roll pancake up and remove from pan. Serve the pancake sprinkled with additional chocolate shards and a dollop of creme fraiche.
Buckwheat and pumpkin curry
Indian spices elevate a somewhat simple veg combo into something extra special here. It's a fabulous quick, easy curry that goes down well as a lunch or supper dish. However, I believe the absolute best time to devour this dish is at breakfast, with a fried egg on top!
Miz Pepperpot, via GuardianWitness
80g buckwheat groats
225ml vegetable stock or water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
1½ tsp aamchoor (dried mango powder)
½ tsp fennel seeds
A pinch of turmeric
4 curry leaves
1 medium potato, diced
300g pumpkin or squash, diced
A handful of frozen sweetcorn
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 Cook the buckwheat in water or vegetable stock in a lidded pan until al dente.
2 Heat a large glug of oil in a frying pan, add the onion and fry gently until golden. Add all the seeds and spices to the pan and fry for a further 2 minutes.
3 Add the potato, pumpkin, corn and yoghurt and combine well. Pour in just enough water to cover the vegetables - about 400ml. Cover the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potato is cooked. Add the cooked buckwheat to the dish 10 minutes into the simmering process. The end result should be a dry curry.
Berry creamy buckwheat bowls
These breakfast bowls are super-quick to make, so long as you remember to soak the buckwheat groats overnight. In the morning, you blend them and eat them raw, flavoured with berries and sweetened with dates for a creamy, satisfying start to the day. Full of nutrition and free from gluten and dairy.
The Nectar Cafe, via GuardianWitness
300g buckwheat groats, soaked in plenty of water overnight
6 dates, soaked overnight in enough water to cover (or dried figs)
2 tbsp shelled hemp seeds, or cashew nuts
225ml almond milk (or milk of your choice)
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cardamom powder
2 handfuls summer berries, plus extra for serving
A handful of mixed seeds, to serve
1 Rinse the soaked buckwheat well in a sieve under running water, then transfer all but 75g to an upright blender, keeping a few back for serving. Add all other ingredients, including the date soaking-water (but not the toppings) and blend until smooth. You're looking for a consistency like thick yoghurt. If it seems too thick, add a bit more almond milk or water.
2 Pour the mixture into bowls and scatter with the remaining buckwheat, whole berries and mixed seeds. Enjoy straight away or leave to firm up slightly in the fridge before serving.
Winner: buckwheat salad with yoghurt and sumac. Photograph: Jill Mead/Guardian