Monday, March 2, 2015

Buttered Buckwheat with Fenugreek Kale and Spicy Yellow Split Peas

Can cookbooks read minds? I’m pretty sure that’s what this new book from Molly Watson did. The book is Greens + Grains, and it is full of dishes made exactly the way I like to cook. When I started reading my review copy, I was sure this book was made just for me. There’s farro, quinoa, wild rice, spelt, barley, and polenta paired with chard, kale, arugula, beet greens, collards, and escarole. I mix and match those ingredients pretty regularly depending on which greens are in season. And, beyond those basic pairings, there are specifics about the recipes that are just what I’d want to do with the dishes too. For instance, the Corn Cilantro and Farro Salad with Chile Dressing is made spicy with jalapeno and is served on top of arugula leaves. The Wild Rice Salad with Kale, Pecans, and Blueberries nicely combines bitter, sweet, nutty, savory, and sweet. I’ve made similar salads with kale but never added blueberries. I can’t wait to try it. The Red Beans and Collard Greens with Brown Rice dish is spookily similar to something I make almost every week. Yes, I felt at home with this book. Although the style of cooking was very familiar, there were some new-to-me recipes too like the Fava Greens Quiche. I’ve never tried fava greens and now will have to find some or grow them myself. The Green Whole-Wheat Flatbread is like paratha made with pureed collard greens leaves mixed into the dough. And, I really have to make the grilled Collard Greens-Wrapped Feta. The first dish I cooked from the book was also something new to me since I’d never before used buckwheat groats. They cook surprisingly quickly, actually faster than the split peas, for Buttered Buckwheat with Fenugreek Kale and Spicy Yellow Split Peas. 

Because the split peas take the longest to cook, they should be started first. They were simmered with sliced ginger and turmeric. I used grated, fresh turmeric for this part of the recipe. Next, the kale was cleaned and chopped into ribbons. Butter was melted in a large saute pan, and ground fenugreek was added followed by minced onion, garlic, serrano chiles, grated ginger, and salt. After a couple of minutes, the kale ribbons were added and cooked until very tender. The buckwheat groats were cooked separately, and they only require about 15 minutes. The last element of the dish was the spiced butter. Butter was melted in a saucepan, and hot paprika, red chile flakes, ground cumin, ground cardamom, ground coriander, ground fenugreek seeds, black pepper, ground ginger, ground turmeric, allspice, and cinnamon were added. To serve, the buckwheat, kale and yellow split peas were plated next to each other and drizzled with the spiced butter. 

This was one of those times when I was uncertain what Kurt’s reaction to the meal would be considering I had gone full-vegetarian with it. I needn’t have worried. The serrranos and spices in the kale, the ginger and turmeric in the split peas, and that flavor-packed butter drizzle brought so much interest to the plate. The buckwheat was a chewy, mild backdrop for everything else happening with the dish. I like being on the same wavelength with a cookbook. I bet we’re going to spend a lot of time together. 

Buttered Buckwheat with Fenugreek Kale and Spicy Yellow Split Peas 
Recipe reprinted with publishes permission from Greens + Grains


Yes, this does seem like a lot of paprika. Don’t worry about that; the heat comes from the dried chile in the spiced butter. Feel free to use less of that, if you’d like. And yes, the spiced butter uses lots of different spices. While the spices do work together in a balanced and delicious way, you can feel free to use whatever combination you can cobble together. The key is the paprika; whatever else you can or can’t add to the mix, the spiced butter will still add plenty of pizzazz. 

1 cup/200 g yellow split peas or chana dal (hulled and split chickpeas) 
5 thin slices peeled fresh ginger 
1 tsp turmeric 
1 tsp fine sea salt 

20 oz/560 g kale 
1 tbsp butter 
1/4 tsp ground fenugreek 
1 yellow onion, minced 
4 garlic cloves, minced 
2 serranos or other small hot chiles, seeded and minced 
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger 
1/2 tsp fine sea salt 
Champagne vinegar for sprinkling (optional) 

2 cups/340 g toasted buckwheat groats 
1/2 tsp fine sea salt 

4 tbsp butter 
1 tbsp hot paprika 
1 tsp crumbled dried red chile or red chile flakes 
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
1/4 tsp ground cardamom 
1/4 tsp ground coriander 
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds or ground fenugreek 
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper 
1/4 tsp ground ginger 
1/4 tsp turmeric 
1/8 tsp ground allspice or ground cloves 
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon 

TO MAKE THE SPLIT PEAS: Rinse the split peas and put them in a medium pot with 4 cups/960 ml water, the ginger, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, skim the surface of any foam, and simmer, partially covered, until the split peas are tender, about 30 minutes. Add more water, if needed, to keep from getting too thick or sticking to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the salt. Set aside. 

TO MAKE THE KALE: Trim off and discard the tough ends of the kale stems, chop the remaining stems and leaves all together; bite-size pieces are good, thin ribbons are even better. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan or wide, shallow pot over high heat. Add the fenugreek and cook, stirring as it sizzles, about 30 seconds. Add the onion, garlic, chiles, ginger, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently as the aromatics soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the kale. Add 1/2 cup/120 ml water, cover, and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring now and again, until the kale is very tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the cover and continue cooking to let any excess water evaporate, about 5 minutes. Lightly sprinkle the kale with vinegar, if you like. Set aside. 

TO MAKE THE BUCKWHEAT: Bring 4 cups/960 ml water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the buckwheat groats and salt. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook, maintaining a steady simmer, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork. If the directions on the package for the buckwheat groats you have are much different from the ones here, follow the package directions; different varieties of buckwheat can cook up quite differently. Set aside. 

TO MAKE THE SPICED BUTTER: When everything else is ready to serve, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add all the spices at once and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Spoon the split peas, kale, and buckwheat alongside one another into six shallow pasta bowls. Drizzle the spiced butter over the split peas before serving. If some butter spills over to the kale and buckwheat, so be it. 

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  1. This book sounds really interesting and your dish looks mouthwatering. The kind of food I never tire of eating.



  2. Everything sounds so delicious! Especially spiced butter :)

  3. That does sound like a fantastic cookbook, Lisa.... I am hanging in there for dear life not buying cookbooks this year, but you are making a strong case for my downfall...

  4. This is something I can eat every day and won't get tired of them at all. It looks wholesome!

  5. Wow Lisa, what a beautiful the spices...everything sounds so flavorful!
    Have a great week :)

  6. This is a really interesting recipe and I'm so glad to hear that Kurt, despite it being vegetarian, really loved it. It has great colour and I love the sound of those spices xx

  7. I can eat dishes like this every day and never get tired of them. This sounds like a wonderful book! Certainly this recipe is terrific -- thanks.

  8. I'm so glad you liked it—your version looks gorgeous (and I haven't had breakfast yet, so it's also making me hungry)!

  9. I appreciate the introduction to Greens + Grains as I'm always searching for new recipes to make vegetarian meals more interesting. It's a cookbook I might have passed by if not for your recommendation!

  10. Hi Lisa, have never had buckwheat groats before but love buckwheat flour, this looks really delicious, love all the ingredients used here. Will have to check out Greens + Grains.

  11. What a healthy and delicious lunch or dinner, I love the use of fenugreek, it is so good for you!

    Choc Chip Uru

  12. this is so colorful and healthy! i can't recall ever eating buckwheat groats, but then again, i've been terribly sheltered from so many delicious things.

  13. What a gorgeous combination. Thanks for sharing Lisa!

  14. mmmmm yummy! healthy and vibrant looking!

  15. I love greens with grains, too! All the different textures and flavors in this dish are amazing!

  16. I adore dishes like this, Lisa. What a a colorful plate too...which I think is important. I've baked with buckwheat flour, but don't think I've ever had buckwheat groats. Such fun to use all the grains available to us now. The cookbook must be fabulous.

  17. Lisa this plate look absolutely delicious, perfect!

  18. Okay...I obviously NEED THIS COOKBOOK. I found myself drooling over every recipe you mentioned...and then again over these photos!

  19. Hi Lisa,
    I'm not sure about this cookbook although, I can see why it would be very useful. I've been slowly introducing different grains around here but they aren't a big hit with Marion. It seems odd to me that such a healthy sounding dish would be smothered in so much butter. I'm sure it's me and my fear of butter these days. Maybe some sort of healthier oil might work.

    Maybe I should go by the way of Kurt and give it a try one day before being so critical. Your dish looks very appetizing. A bit of extra work but obviously worth it!

    Thank you so much for sharing, are such an inspiring adventurous cook. I LOVE it!

  20. Omg... This dish looks amazing! Such a colorful plate! I can bet that it was delicious!

  21. looks sooo healthy and yummy. Love all those colors , lovely spring meal!

  22. Oh, wow. This is one plate full of awesome! I love the combination of all these ingredients. Must make this soon!


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