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National food

Buckwheat as side dish

Black rye bread

Sour cabbage (or sauerkraut)

Natonal soups

Borscht - famous red soup

Shchi - cabbage soup

Okroshka - soup with kvass

Solyanka - salted soup


Zefir - light dessert

Varenie - main Russian dessert


Kvass - Russian drink #1

Kefir - sour milk drink

Mors - berry drink

Kissel - dense drink

Kompot - fruit or berry


McDonalds in Russia

Buckwheat (or "grechka") –
national Russian side dish


1 Introduction

2 History of buckwheat in Russia

3 How to cook buckwheat in Russian way

4 How and where you may taste buckwheat in Moscow

5 If you want to bring buckwheat to the homeland

6 Health benefits of buckwheat


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Buckwheat is recognized as one of the national foods in Russia. It is one of two culinary symbols of our country; the second is the black rye bread.

Buckwheat is grown in many countries. It is China, France, Ukraine, Poland and others. In many countries you may find national dishes made of buckwheat flour, but only in Russia we eat pure buckwheat as a side dish.

Usually, in other counties noodles and flapjacks made of buckwheat flour are popular. In France you may find "Breton Galette", it is a flapjack filled with egg, ham and cheese. In the Northern Italy the special pasta "Pizzoccheri" is widespread. In Japan "Soba" noodles are very popular. Those three dishes made of buckwheat flour are most well-known in the world.

In Russia we eat only boiled buckwheat with some additions. Noodles or flapjacks are not popular, although Russian cuisine includes more than 100 of dishes made of buckwheat.

History of buckwheat in Russia

Buckwheat was domesticated in India 4-5 thousand years ago. This plant came to Russia from the Byzantine Empire and we don`t have any doubts about this fact. In Russia we call buckwheat as "grechka"; in the old Russian language the phrase means "came from Greece". There is a legend that a Greek missionary monks first started to grow it.

We don`t know exactly when it has happened, because evidences still were not found. Most of historians consider it was in the 7th century. Buckwheat became popular in Russia because it grows well in poor soils.

How to cook buckwheat the Russian way

It is easy. The cooking technology is the same as boiling rice. You need to mix one glass of buckwheat with two glasses of water and add some salt. It should boil until all the water is absorbed.

Buckwheat is very convenient in cooking because no foam appears while boiling. You may start cooking and go away for another work; nothing bad will happen.

Pure buckwheat is not very delicious. To make it tasty we usually add butter or sunflower oil. Olive oil is also good, but it is not widespread in Russia. Russians like to finely chop an onion, fry it and then add to buckwheat; it is delicious.

If you are keeping fit, then you may mix it with boiled vegetables. This dish is most healthy. If to add mushrooms, then this dish is called "monastery kasha" and this dish was a common food for monks in Russia in the old times.

Buckwheat may be boiled not only in water, milk is also widespread. Usually this dish is good for breakfast. Russian pediatricians advise buckwheat as a necessary product for children. In a kids store, you may find a lot of types of fast cooking porridge designed especially for kids. See the few photos below.

How and where you may taste buckwheat ("grechka") in Moscow

You may find it in a restaurant of Russian cuisine. Also, buckwheat may be found in some fast-foods of Russian origin. It is "Teremok" or "Melenka". We don't recommend to degustate this dish in fast-foods because the taste is usually not very good. It is better to visit a restaurant for the bright experience.

There are many restaurants in Moscow that offer a "business lunch" from 12 pm to 15 pm. We recommend to take advantage of the offer. This is a good chance for good quality and cheap lunch. Delicious buckwheat is in a menu frequently.

If you want to bring buckwheat to the homeland

There are two ways. The first is to purchase the special steamed product. You may find it in a special carton package. Buckwheat is already packaged in PE bags with 100 grams each. Please see our small gallery of photos below.

This product is more expensive, but much more convenient. You just need to take this bag and put it into boiling water. It takes 5 minutes until buckwheat will be ready for consuming. You will need just to add some salt.

If you want to feel the real life of Russians, then you should buy pure buckwheat in a supermarket.

There are two types: "yadritsa" and "prodel". The first is a solid corn type and the second is a crushed corn type. It is better to choose "yadritsa".

The main rule is to watch the corns are:
- of similar brown color,
- of similar size,
- and there are no bad corns.

It is hard to explain how the bad corn of buckwheat is looking like. That is why we advise you to look in the photo at the right. Usually the bad corns are of dark color and more rude shape.

Be careful, because the bad corns are dangerous. You may even break your teeth. Unfortunately, there are no famous brands of buckwheat in Russia. So you may choose any brand, just avoid of the bad corns. Find our small gallery below.

Health benefits of buckwheat

Buckwheat is very healthy. If compare it with rice, buckwheat contains twice as much of protein, more lipids and less carbohydrate. Buckwheat is also rich with vitamins - C, E, B1, B2, B3, B5 and B9. It contains minerals needed for a human body - Ferrum, Calcium, Magnesium and others. The list of useful substances contained in buckwheat is twice as longer than in rice.

You may think we Russians eat a lot of buckwheat because we care about our health. It is the important reason, but not the main. In Russia the soil is poor, the growing season is short and is limited to 120 days and the weather is unpredictable.

In such conditions buckwheat is the best choice for agriculture. That is why buckwheat is an important part of our culture and tradition.

Many people say buckwheat is good for losing weight because it is low-cal. It is true, but this fact is strongly exaggerated. Buckwheat contains nearly 330 calories in 100 grams, but rice contains nearly 400 calories. The difference is not so large.

Buckwheat can be stored for a long time. It is resistant to insects and mold. That is why the Russian national strategic reserves of food contain a lot of buckwheat. The government sometimes opens it in case of poor harvest to avoid price rising; last time it has happened in the end of 2014.

Enjoy the dishes of Russian cuisine and read our other articles (watch for the list of links below and on the left from the text of this article).

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Grechka with tvorog?
Alex – site admin

Usually we do not eat buckwheat with curd.

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