Thursday, March 4, 2010

Socialist queen - buckwheat



Serves 4

Ingredients
250 g grilled buckwheat kasha (available in stores carrying Polish food)
500 ml vegetable, mushroom or meat broth (choose your favourite)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or goose grease
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg white

Preparation
Crack the egg and separate yolk from white.
In a bowl, beat delicately egg white. Add kasha and mix thorough fully, so all grains are coated evenly with egg white.
Put aside for at least 30 minutes, until the egg white dries out completely.
Then rub the grains with your fingers, to ensure that all of them separate and do not stick to each other.
In a pan, bring to a boil 500 ml of broth. Add salt.
In the meantime, in a hot saucepan melt the grease, add kasha and fry over a medium flame for about 3 minutes, until you can smell nice vapors.
Add boiling broth to kasha; bring to a boil again, then cover and turn flame down to minimum and cook until the liquid is completely absorbed.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Then place the saucepan in the oven and roast kasha for an additional 10 to 15 minutes with the cover still on.
Serve hot as an accompaniment to dishes such as warm meat, in particular zrazy.

More about buckwheat
It is not necessary to grill your kasha in the oven; it is ready to serve once the broth is completely absorbed; however, grilling it gives it more taste.
Adding the egg white ensures that the kasha will not become sticky and that its grains will separate.
In France, and in other countries, you can easily find buckwheat kasha in stores carrying Polish and Russian food, as well as in good shops carrying organic food.

Despite the fact that buckwheat probably originated from India, I can say that buckwheat kasha is the most “Polish” of kashas.
It is a common complement to meats with sauces, for example zrazy - under the condition, however, that it is not overcooked and that its grains do not get sticky.

You can use kasha to stuff “gołąbki” - which is a traditional Polish dish of stuffed and rolled cabbage. Pierogi with kasha and mushroom or curd cheese are also popular and you can find them in many Polish restaurants. Further, there exist recipes for buckwheat kasha pancakes. On the other hand, buckwheat flour is still not popular in Poland, as it is in France for example.

This kasha is very healthy. It contains a lot of dietary fibers, folic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. It does not contain gluten. It warms the body up, for that it is a great complement in winter time.
A typical Polish old fashioned summer dish is buckwheat kasha served with fried eggs and spinach, accompanied by a glass of fresh kefir. You can find this dish in famous Polish “milk bars”.



To make a long story short, a milk bar is a type of cheap and fast restaurant or rather eating-house, something like “greasy spoons”, where traditional dishes are served. The first milk bar was opened at the end of the nineteenth century and before the Second World War they were so popular enough that Governmental ordinances regulated their size and the prices of dishes. Thanks to that, the milk bars could be accessible to poorer part of society. After the Second World War they became especially popular, as they were always inexpensive, even twice or three times cheaper than regular restaurants. Certain of them are still in operation today, thanks, in a good part, to public subsidies. They usually are self-service restaurants, where old-fashioned cash-desks are still in use; however their interior decoration has rather changed and has been modernized. The fixed menu is displayed behind the cash desk, on big plastic boards.
During the communist era, the clientele of milk bars was a real phenomenon. In Kraków, for example, it was quite common to have students, physical workers and retired university professors share the same table.  
Many Poles remember an ironic scene from a cult Polish comedy “Miś”, a 1980 Polish film directed by Stanisław Bareja, full of a fearless and surreal sense of humor. Two individuals consume buckwheat served in metal bowls attached to a table with screws, barely “cleaned” with dirty rag. The meals are consumed in silence, using ugly metal spoons, chained together, so nobody can steal them.



To be honest, the reality of milk bars was much better than what this short film pictures. However, milk bars were specific places with specific smell of cooked dishes, that stuck to your hair and your clothes until bath was taken and clothes were changed.

15 comments:

buruuberii said...

Magda, dziekuje za odwiedziny! Z przyjemnoscia czyta sie polski blog dla niepolskojezycznych ciekawskich - swietne i potrzebne przedsiweziecie! Gryczna, ta z Misia z maslem to samo sedno sprawy :-)
Czyzby Zaczek mleczny z Czarnowiejskiej? Chyba mial czerwony szyld kiedys...

Magdalena said...

hej! nie wiedzialam wczesniej o Twoim blogu, odkrylam go dopiero dzisiaj - podoba mi sie, gdzie sie ukrywalas ?
bar mleczny, ktorego zdjecie prezentuje, to bar z czarnowiejskiej oczywiscie - bardzo dobrze mi znany, poniewaz jest to "moja dzielnica" - chodzilam do podstawowki 500 metrow dalej, a mieszkam (tzn gdy jestem w Krakowie) - ulice dalej, w okolicach Urzedniczej.
Misia w przepisie na kasze nie moglam sobie darowac...choc oczywiscie anglojezyczni obcokrajowcy chyba raczej nie zrozumieja tego absurdu (tym bardziej, ze nie udalo mi sie do tej pory znalezc wersji z angielskimi napisami).
Dziekuje za wizyte na moim blogu, fajnie, ze znasz czarnowiejska ulice...
Magda

Szalony Kucharz said...

Russians might disagree with you on the "Polishness" of buckwheat kasha. They claim the гречневая каша to be their staple food just as much as ours.

That being said, Eastern Europe is perhaps one of the few remaining regions of the Old Continent where cereals are what they used to be in the past. These days, the word "cereal" usually means artificial, factory made, pseudo-grains, like sugar frosted cornflakes, honey-dipped granola, "healthy option" muesli, chocolate coated puffed rice and other monstrosities too many to mention. Kasha (kasza) is as natural as cereal can be: basically it is grain kernels with only their husks removed and sometimes roughly milled or roasted. Grouts. Funny thing, although rice is technically also a type of kasha, we have never considered it to be one, reserving the name for cereals other than rice.

There are many, many dishes in the Polish quisine where kasha is the main ingredient. I hope you will present some of these in the nearest future, ma chere. Like krupnik soup, gołąbki or kaszanka.

buruuberii said...

Alez prosze! Nie ukrywam sie za bardzo, ale tez sie nie reklamuje :-)
O popatrz Magda, to w pewnym sensie bylysmy sasiadkami :-) cale 9 lat spedzilam w Krakowie, na zachod od Alei... Choc wyemigrowalam na Ruczaj ostatecznie, jesli juz tam bywam...

Gryczna, Mis - tez mam obawy, ze malo kto ten absurd pojmuje, ale mysle ze proba wtajemniczenia bardzo udana!

Pozdrawiam Cie cieplo.

Magdalena said...

Kucharz, buckwheat has a huge tradition in Russian cooking as well, I agree... anyway, I meant rather that, this plant itself came from India...and, in the context of Polish "cuisine", buckwheat is very "Polish"...you will find it everywhere - shops, cantinas, milk bars, cheap restaurants, and restaurants serving more sophisticated food...
I agree with you as regards cereals...fortunately, most of them are available in shops with organic food in Paris...barley, buckwheat and so on.
Krupnik, golabki are ready for presentation....a bit of patience, please...
Take care!

Magdalena said...

buruuberii..jakos Twoja twarz wydaje mi sie znajoma... moze kiedys - gdzies sie spotkalysmy...choc z tego, co zrozumialam, ty juz raczej z krakowem nie masz do czynienia od dluzszego czasu :)
na blogu mam zamiar prezentowac tez inne krakowskie i malopolskie miejsca w kontekscie kulinarnym, tak wiec zapraszam.
Dziekuje za uwage w przedmiocie Misia.
Pracuje nad udoskonaleniem, aby Ci, co z komuna nie mieli do czynienia, przyswoili klimat :)
Pozdrawiam Cie tez rowniez.

zemfiroczka said...

Właśnie przeczytałam Twój komentarz u Tilii odnośnie makaroników i wpadłam zrobić rekonesans ;) I już piszę, że zdjęcia masz bardzo wpadające w oko.
Podoba mi się idea opowiadania innym o polskiej kuchni. Jak znajdę więcej czasu (który teraz zjadają mi ustawy ;)) to się wczytam w treść.

pozdr!
oczko ;)

Magdalena said...

Witaj! Dziękuję za odwiedziny. Zdjęcia robię prawie zawsze wyłącznie przy świetle dziennym, nie lubię posługiwać się lampami i parasolami, gdyż po pierwsze nie za bardzo mi to wychodzi, a po drugie dużo miejsca w pokoju zajmuje :)
Ciągle coś sprawdzam i poprawiam, to dopiero poczatki...kolejną ideą bloga, będzie prezentacja paryskich (francuskich) miejsc, ludzi i sytuacji - związanych z kulinariami oczywiście...to tyle na razie...

Magdalena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zemfiroczka said...

Z tymi zdjęciami, to większość foodblogerów tak ma, że sympatyzuje ze światłem dziennym, pomstując jednocześnie na szybkie zimowe zmierzchy i konieczność lamp. Z prostej przyczyny - dzienne światło zastane jest po prostu przyjaźniejsze dla oka, zdjęcia i... naszych wizji o nim ;)

pozdr!

buruuberii said...

Moglysmy sie gdzies minac, jak w piosence z Czerwonego w wykonaniu Zamachowskiego... A wlasciwie to wiersz Szymborskiej :)
Reczywiscie do 5 lat w Krakowie mnie mniej, coraz (to tak z Misia:).
Podoba mi sie idea Twego bloga, tak trzymaj!

Mich said...

W sprawie kaszy to muszę spróbować sposobu z przepisu, czytałem o nim w Alfabecie smakosza Fisher. Zostawiam do przetestowania, do Twojego blogu będę z pewnością wracał

Magdalena said...

Zemifroczko: ucze sie fotografowac od niedawna. niektore zdjecia, ktore wrzuce na blogu, byly robione miedzy 10 a 12, gdyz wtedy mialam najlepsze swiatlo. Podzielam Twoj poglad o swietle dziennym :)

Buruuberii: bardzo mozliwe, ze moglysmy sie minac. Jezeli jeszcze przy okazji bywalas na krakowskim Kazimierzu, to tym bardziej. Dzieki za slowa uznania, sie starac bede :)

Mich: dziekuje za odwiedziny na blogu. O ksiazce wspomnianej przez Ciebie slyszalam, ale nie czytalam i nie wiem, czy jest do zdobycia. Musze to sprawdzic. Pozdrawiam!

KK said...

Magda, thanx for the kasha (gryczana) story. it really remains a part of our culinary adenture in the communist Poland and yet it has been one of my favorite simple meals until today. Asians have rice - we have different kashas (I do love "perlowa", tiny grains barley).
One suggestion: I always cook (18 - 20 minutes) my kasha in the light wild mushrooms broth. One volume part of kasha, one and one third more of the broth. Soft grainy kasha sand guaranteed !

Magdalena said...

KK. next time I will cook kasha applying your advice. Take care :)))

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