One of the sad truths about eating healthy is to shy away from processed grains. White rice, white bread, white pasta. All the GOOD STUFF!!! All my young life I was raised eating these. And then later in life, I get told it ain't good for you. Worse, it is one of the first things to go if you are hell bent into getting in shape.

Shock. Of. My. Life.

Slowly, I reached the stage of acceptance and tried out other "healthier" grains- brown rice, red, purple and black rice. I began getting used to the nuttier, earthier taste of these kinds of rice. But I am not a hypocrite- nothing comes close to white rice. And I mean Nothing.

Back in Dushanbe, where I was last month, I saw this brown grain in almost every eatery counter I've been in. It wasn't long until I finally pointed to it as part of my meal. From afar, it looked like a brown mungbean or munggo. By the way, munggo  is a childhood favorite. So it was only a matter of time until I tasted it.


I loved it. Not knowing what it was even called, I ventured into the unknown. It did taste a bit like munggo, and everything else that I loved about brown rice. The nutty, earthy taste was there. And the feeling that I will, without a doubt, meet my daily fiber requirement? That was so fulfilling! Soon thereafter, I was on the hunt to discover this next big thing in my diet.

After a question and answer portion with our friendly hotel receptionist, Ahtam, at the Gulistan Tour Hotel, (find my Tripadvisor review on the hotel here), I found out it was called grechka, or buckwheat groats. I'm pretty sure I must have seen it available in Healthy Options. But I didn't care look because it will probably cost an arm and a leg.

I had the brilliant idea of buying it in Dushanbe. And I deserved a pat on the shoulder for that. The top brand, which I guessed was not only organic but also non-GMO was eighty pesos a bag. I bought FOUR of these!


When I got back home, I am always tempted to try cooking it. It didn't help that the package instructions were in Russian.  I looked online for an easy recipe to follow. In the middle of my search, I found out all its amazing properties. There is an emerging trend, recognizing it as the next big diet find. But first things first, I had to learn how to cook it. And then yesterday was the day. I found this recipe in Epicurious.

Stir-fried Buckwheat Groats


    • 1 cup buckwheat groats
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (regular or reduced-sodium)
    • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon Asian chile paste or sambal
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
    • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
    • 2 large carrots, shredded through the large holes of a box grater
    • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    • 1/2 pound green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


    1.  Pour the buckwheat groats into a large bowl and mix in the egg until they are well coated, all the grains separated from one another.
    2. Heat a large, dry saucepan over medium heat. Pour in the coated groats and stir over the heat for 2 minutes to set the egg. The groats should still be separate from each other.
    3. Pour in the broth and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed and the groats are tender, about 15 minutes.
    4. Spread the buckwheat on a large rimmed baking sheet and cool for 10 minutes to make sure the grains stay separate, rather than glomming onto each other.
    5. Meanwhile, whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, chile paste, and sugar in a small bowl.
    6. Heat a large wok over medium-high heat. Swirl in the oil, then add the scallions, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.
    7. Add the carrots, bell pepper, and green beans. Stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add all the buckwheat. Continue stir-frying for 1 minute. Pour in the soy sauce mixture and bring to a simmer, tossing and stirring for 1 more minute.

The trick to coat the groats with beaten egg, keeping them from sticking to each other was genius. This recipe revealed a different way of preparing it, as it had sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar and sambal for a distinct Southeast Asian taste. We had beef sukiyaki and mushroom salpicao for dinner, so that was the topping to my grechka. And I was very very pleased...


For next time though, I will remember to pour in more vegetable stock and let it simmer for longer, so the groats will be more tender, but still with a bit of a bite to it. Al dente is my goal :)

P.S. This article was originally published in my personal blog, Chowpowwows, where chow is always on the lowdown.


Published by Michelle Africa