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
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.