Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kasha - Some Jewish Soul Food

So most people that know us know that Wednesday = Wingsday for my hubby. He has a schedule he loves to stick to & he orders in hot wings & fries. But that still leaves me & the baby... so many times Wednesdays mean I get to make something for ME, something I love. Tonight I wanted comfort food Lishie-style- kasha (aka "kasha varnishkes"). Kasha, you say? It's a grain, buckwheat, & a great substitute for rice or pasta because it is low in sodium & fat, has no cholesterol & is wheat & gluten-free.
(Think "like" cous cous- because you can use it like cous cous & add vegetable too!)

My maternal grandmother use to make it & my sister & I loved it. When I visited Russia back in 1989, I (thankfully) had kasha varnishkes at Gorky Park in Moscow. Yes, Russians consider it fair food too. It came in a tin & was topped with gravy. The most delicious thing I've ever had since the food was not too appetizing nor abundant on that leg of the trip. Of course, I also got indigestion jumping off the non-stopping ferris wheel (but that would be another Blog, another day, kind of story!)

Not truly sure where or how I learned to make it, & there are many varying ways, but here's mine:

Kasha Varnishkes

2 TBSp canola oil
1 small onion, diced 
kosher salt
1 cup kasha (I get the medium granulation -check the package, it says it on there)
1 & 3/4 cup chicken stock (Or vegetable stock OR water)
1/4 of a box cooked farfalle Or small bowtie pasta

Warm oil in a 2 qt. sauce pan over medium-low heat, add the diced onion & kosher salt... sweat the onion until it is translucent*. Add the kasha allowing it to soak up the oil & get "toasted" (like the beginning of making popcorn & toasting the kernels). Add the liquid- I used chicken stock, makes it tasty & hearty. Cook over medium-low heat, fluffing the cooking kasha with a wooden spoon until the liquid is cooked out (or in, in this case!)  Fold in the pasta with the wooden spoon, fluff & serve!

*If you wanted to add more veggies, this is where you'd add them. Mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, carrots... so many options would work beautifully.

I ate it with brown pumpernickel slices slathered in salted butter (Breakstones, of course!), on the side. Delicious, out of the ordinary, nutritious, comfort food! Food for my soul.


  1. Yum. I can't say it but I sure do like it. I wouldn't even know where in the store to find kasha?

  2. This is exactly how I make mine, too!!

  3. It's Kah-shuh var-nish (like Lish NOT like Nisha ;) ) kehs

    A&P stocks it in the International aisle near Polish & Kosher food, then the Asian food.

  4. That's awesome, Lisa! Maybe I absorbed it from my grandmother somehow? She NEVER taught me anything.

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