“We must bring back buckwheat to the Israeli culinary repertoire,” says chef Erez Komarovsky enthusiastically. “In my opinion, it is much better than quinoa, for example. How can it be that we perceive buckwheat as an old-fashioned ingredient that smells bad and belongs only to Russian grandmothers, when all over the world it is revered in the kitchen — like soba noodles in Japan or buckwheat crepes in Brittany, France?”
Komarovsky shakes off the dust from buckwheat and prepares a dish inspired by the local mujadara, common in indigenous cuisines stretching from Egypt to Syria. He pairs it with fresh hyssop, which, together with plenty of fried onions, ensures that even buckwheat’s biggest opponents will fall for this dish.
- For the fried onions
- ½ cup olive oil
- 6 white onions (1kg / 2.2lb), finely chopped
- For the Mujadara
- 1 cup roasted buckwheat
- 3 tablespoons mild olive oil (such as Koroneiki)
- 2¼ cups boiling water
- ½ cup basmati rice
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup fresh hyssop leaves
- Fry the onions: Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, mix well with the oil, reduce to a low heat and fry until the onion caramelizes and turns a dark brown. Be patient, this will take about an hour. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Prepare the mujadara: While the onions are caramelizing, heat a cast iron pot over a medium heat. Add the buckwheat and fry for 2 minutes. Add the olive oil and mix well until the buckwheat is fully coated. When you hear a crackling sound, carefully add the boiling water followed by the rice. Stir lightly and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper, cover, reduce to a low heat and cook for 22 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the pot covered for 10 minutes without opening it.
- Transfer the mujadara to a bowl, add the fried onion and hyssop leaves and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper to your taste. Transfer to a serving dish, and serve hot.