To the un-educated newly diagnosed gluten-avoider; the word ‘ buckwheat’ might make you want to turn a blind ear (yes I know it’s meant to eye)… but really this a friend, not a foe, for buckwheat contains not one bit of ‘wheat’ that us gluten-free eaters are trying to avoid.
The ingredient is actually not related to wheat in any way, shape or form (YAY). It is a fruit seed, that is part of the same family as rhubarb (of course…).
The triangular shaped seeds, or groats, are ground down to make a flour; these flours can be found in varying degrees of ‘darkness’; with the darker ones carrying the most nutritional value and a stronger depth of flavour.
Buckwheat flour is an excellent alternative to the more widely used refined wheat flour, as I mentioned before, it has some excellent nutrients under it’s belt. For instance, this ingredient is low GI -keeping you fuller for longer and helping to maintain your blood sugar levels. It is also high in fibre, magnesium and the B vitamins. With all these vitamin and nutrient ‘brownie points’ (GF of course) buckwheat carries around, it is easy to see how much more it can provide you with compared to your average refined white flour.
Buckwheat flour is used in a variety of different cuisines worldwide; from Indian fried bread (Kuttu ki Puri, as one example), to little Russian blinis and also in french cuisine -where they make thin buckwheat pancakes, called ‘galettes’.
I’ve used Dove’s farm wholemeal buckwheat flour in my ‘Buckwheat Flour and Medjool Date Pancakes’, which are really easy to make, the buckwheat flour adds a more satisfying texture and intense flavour than you would experience if using white wheat flour.
Give it a go!
P.s. If you happen to be in Paris and looking for a scrummy lunch or dessert joint I would recommend paying a visit to Café Galette, located on Rue de l’Université. There are so many choices here (I know surprising given the name of the place), both sweet and savoury (I soldiered through and managed to have both), and is great for a filling, tasty, gluten-less meal.