Thursday, 7 August 2008

Polish buckwheat patties

Polish: gryka
Basque: artobeltz
Bulgarian: елда
Spanish: alforfón
Hungarian: hajdina
French: sarrasin
Waloon: boûkete
Ukrainian: гречка
Slovenian: ajda
Chinese: 蕎麥

So you may think that buckwheat is eaten only as a bulgur-like porridge by eastern Europeans and Ashkenazi Jews in North America? You are so wrong! The groats may be used for Polish buckwheat-curd cheese filling for dumplings and you will find them in famous delicious Polish and German black pudding. Buckwheat flour (non glutinous!) is even more prevalent: in Slovenian nut roll (potiča); in French (Brittany) pancakes (galettes) or Russian (blini) or Slovenian ones (idinska zlevanka); in Slovenian dumplings (Žganci) or Austrian ones (Sterz; in Korean jelly (memilmuk); in Japanese noodles (soba) or Italian ones (pizzoccheri)... of course there are much more dishes that are still unknown to me... And today I am gonna show you how to prepare Polish (eastern-Polish) buckwheat-curd cheese patties, hreczniaki.

1/2 cup buckwheat
1/2 cup tvarog (fresh curd cheese)*
1/2 cup chopped parsley green
1 big onion
1 egg
1 scallion
1/3 cup flour (integral flour more than welcome) + a bit more to sprinkle
salt, pepper to taste

1. Cook buckwheat in 1 cup water (or vegetable stock) until soft but still loose (no mush!); you should obtain 1 cup of cooked buckwheat porridge

2. Mash cheese with a fork.
*If you find no East-European tvarog cheese, take any fresh white cheese, be it Turkish, Greek (feta inclusive) or anything, but not too salty. But then, control the adding of salt! I had no right cheese at the moment so I took Turkish cow milk feta-like cheese from the can and I couldn't complain about the final result!

3. Mash cheese together with buckwheat, egg, chopped and fried onion, chopped and fried scallion, chopped parsley green, salt and pepper. At the end add flour (prepare 1/3 cup and add it spoon by spoon, until you reach a right consistency, which means until you will be able to form croquettes).

4. As said above, form croquettes and sprinkle them with flour. Now they are ready to be fried. Serve warm with mushroom sauce (or any other sauce) and/ or cooked vegetables (or salad) as a dinner or serve cold with a salad.

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