is not by accident that Slavic people had grain and groats as a symbol
of home and good housekeeping.
There are many Russian fairy tales, songs
and proverbs about kasha. For example, "you never make kasha with him"
means a stubborn and intractable person. Kasha was a necessary part of
every feast, a symbol of wealth and well-being. Russian people say: "Schi
and kasha are our principal meal". Kasha was a ceremonial dish. Baptizing
kasha was given to a child with words "kasha is on the spoon, baby will
walk soon." Kasha took a very important place at any holiday dinners.
In general, the assortment of kashas was very large in the Rus: kashas
of different consistency with meat, fish, onion, milk, water, sour cream,
broth, or different juices. There was a special holiday consecrated by
the church: "Babya kasha" (Women kashas). You can't imagine Russian cuisine
without kashas. There is a proverb: "A Russian cannot be full-fed without
kasha". There is no person who doesnít love kasha. Some prefer milk kasha,
others - with butter or fruits, or cheese. But how to cook a good kasha?
Is it not very difficult, but be careful to simplify things. Your family
will get full up with your tasteless kashas very quickly. As a result,
adults wonít eat kashas at all and kids will hate them with all their
hearts. But all you need is a little knowledge, patience and fantasy and
kasha will be a real holiday for you and your family. There are several
kinds of kasha: rice, semolina, cereal, buckwheat, millet , oatmeal etc.
You can cook viscous kasha on milk or crumbly kasha on water or broth.
I would love to give you some advice how to make your kasha tastier. The
best crock to cook kasha is a cast-iron pot. Kasha will keep the form
of every grain in the cast-iron dish. If you are going to cook a crumbly
kasha, it is better to fry the groats for a couple of minutes. Cover the
bottom of the pan in no more than 2-3 cm of grains and fry, agitating
regularly. Of course, donít forget to wash the groats and sort out the
bad grains. The most important question is how much liquid we need for
kasha. The rule is the same for all kinds of cereals: 1 cup of cereal
needs 2 cups of water. Pour the cereal into the boiling salted water.
When kasha is dense, put the cover on the pan. Never stir kasha by the
force of habit. Put a piece of butter on the top and cover again. Then
take a deep pan and fill it halfway with water. Put the pot of kasha on
the pan and place them into a heated oven. The oven must have an average
temperature. The kasha must be stewed there for 1-2 hours.
Well, as you see, we have cooked with you real Russian crumbly kasha.
And now I want to suggest you a couple of recipes to diversify well known
kasha with mushrooms:
Yield: 3 servings
200 g rice
40 g butter
1 average onion
Wash mushrooms and soak in the water for 1-2 hours. Wash them again.
Boil mushrooms until they are ready. Cool them down and chop finely.
Chop onion and fry until light brown. Boil mushroom broth again, add
salt, butter, fried onion and washed rice. After 15 minutes of cooking,
add chopped mushrooms. Now let kasha cook on a very low heat or in the
Yield: 6 servings
1 c semolina
2 1/2 c milk
2 tb butter
2 tb sugar
2 c dense cream
2/3 c nuts
2 c canned fruits
1/2 c sugar
1/2 ea lemon
cream into a shallow pan. Put it into the hot oven. As soon as there
is a pink skin on the cream, take it carefully away on the plate. Be
careful not to tear. Do this until you have 6-7 skins. Boil a viscous
kasha (mush) on milk. Add butter, sugar (2 tb), vanilla, salt and mix
very well. Put kasha into the oven to warm up for 30 minutes. Add the
rest of the baked cream to the kasha.
Caramelizing nuts: Nuts must be caramelized, otherwise kasha will be
gray and not have a very good taste. Nuts must be tempered (fired) at
first. Then put in very hot water for 10 minutes. After that take the
skins off and dry and chop them. Put sugar (1/2 c) in the pan on the
heat, add lemon juice, wait until red in color and add nuts. As soon
as nuts are caramelized, take them out and let cool down. Prepare a
baking form. Grease it with butter. Put a little kasha as first layer,
then a skin and nuts with chopped canned fruits. Repeat until all the
skins are used. The last layer is made of kasha. Decorate with sugar,
fruits and nuts and put the form into the hot oven for 10-20 minutes.
Gouryevskaya Kasha is served with apricot puree or any fruit juice.
By Olga Timokhina