This comforting Russian buckwheat kasha recipe with caramelised onions, bacon lardons, pan-fried mushrooms, and soft-boiled eggs makes my hearty take on my baboushka’s traditional Russian breakfast. Buckwheat or grechka is the key ingredient of this kasha, a savoury porridge that I serve with a dollop of sour cream and plenty of fragrant dill.
My hearty Russian buckwheat kasha recipe with onions, bacon, mushrooms and boiled eggs makes a comforting savoury Russian porridge (kasha) made with buckwheat groats (grechka) that is based on my Russian grandmother’s recipe. Despite the rustic appearance, it is perhaps the least traditional of all my Russian family recipes but it’s one of my favourite buckwheat recipes.
I have to confess that of all the traditional Russian breakfasts my baboushka used to make, kasha was not one of my favourite breakfasts as a child. While I happily tucked into Baba’s French toast, blini, potato cakes, and buckwheat pancakes, I politely resisted her offer of kasha if I could without insulting her.
As a little kid, it was the strange smell that put me off more than the nutty taste of the ancient grain, and it wasn’t until I was a young adult going to Sydney University and visiting my grandparents for overnight stays that I finally got kasha.
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Russian Buckwheat Kasha Recipe with Caramelised Onions, Bacon, Mushrooms and Soft Boiled Eggs
This Russian buckwheat kasha recipe with caramelised onions, bacon lardons, pan-fried mushrooms, and soft-boiled eggs makes my take on my baboushka’s traditional Russian breakfast. Buckwheat or grechka is the key ingredient of this kasha, a savoury porridge that I’ve spiced up, which I serve with a dollop of sour cream, diced gherkins, and plenty of fragrant dill.
As a child growing up in a Russian-Australian family – mum’s side being Russian and dad’s Australian – I grew up eating everything from French and Italian food to Chinese and Indian cuisines. That’s my excuse for including virgin olive oil, star anise and fish sauce into what is otherwise a fairly traditional Russian buckwheat kasha recipe. Don’t knock it until you try it.
One of the other differences is in the presentation, particularly combining half the caramelised onions, bacon and mushrooms with the buckwheat before serving it, and placing the other half of the ingredients on top.
The final difference is the boiled egg. My baboushka served chopped-up hard-boiled eggs on top of her kasha, whereas I prefer soft-boiled eggs – even runny eggs – which I love to stir through the buckwheat kasha, with the sour cream and loads of fresh fragrant dill.
If you’re Russian or of Russian heritage and remember the buckwheat kasha of your childhood, I’d love to know what you think of my take on the traditional buckwheat kasha. Just a few tips to making this Russian buckwheat kasha recipe…
Tips to Making this Russian Buckwheat Kasha Recipe
Just a few important tips to making this Russian buckwheat kasha recipe. These days buckwheat groats are generally sold roasted and cleaned, but if you’re in the habit of washing rice before you cook it then you’ll probably want to run your buckwheat groats under running water.
If you’re using roasted buckwheat groats, then after rinsing them you can go straight to the cooking stage, otherwise you can pan-roast the buckwheat groats in a dry pan on low heat until they are golden brown and smell nutty.
If they’re already roasted, you can transfer them to a cooking pot with a glass lid. I strongly recommend a pot with a glass lid so you can keep an eye on things, as it’s very important to not remove the lid while they’re cooking.
At the same time, you don’t want to over-cook the buckwheat, so if it looks like the water has evaporated and they’re done earlier than the times below, then remove the buckwheat so it doesn’t burn. You want your cooked buckwheat groats to look like our’s in the pic above.
While you should have enough time to prep the other ingredients and fry your bacon lardons, onion and mushrooms while the buckwheat is cooking, if you’ve never made buckwheat before and you want to ensure you don’t over-cook it and don’t burn it, you could do this prep first to be safe.
It is very easy to burn buckwheat if you don’t begin with boiling water, which is why you should make sure you have a rolling boil before putting the lid on, and if the water evaporates completely and you don’t remove the buckwheat in time.
This Russian buckwheat kasha recipe traditionally makes what is essentially a savoury porridge that was eaten for breakfast, but it also works for brunch, lunch and a comforting dinner, especially on a cold winter’s night.
If serving it for lunch or dinner, it goes very nicely with piroshki, Russian pelmeni or stuffed cabbage rolls if you’re really in need of comfort food. If you want to lighten things up, serve it with a Russian garden salad.
Russian Buckwheat Kasha Recipe
- 1 cup buckwheat groats
- ½ tsp butter
- 2 cups water boiled
- 100 g bacon lardons
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 large onion roughly chopped
- 100 g mushrooms thickly sliced
- ½ tsp sea salt or to taste
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper or to taste
- ½ tsp star anise ground
- ½ tsp fish sauce good quality
- 2 eggs soft-boiled, halved
- 1 gherkin finely diced
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 2 tbsp dill fresh, roughly chopped
- If using roasted buckwheat groats, transfer them to a fine mesh strainer and rinse under running water until the water runs clear. If the buckwheat grains are not roasted, then pan-roast them in a dry pan on low heat until golden brown.
- Transfer the buckwheat to a pot with a glass lid. Add butter, stirring through the buckwheat to cover the grains, then increase heat to high, add boiling water, and continue to stir until the water is on a rolling boil. Once boiling, cover the lid, reduce to medium to low heat, and allow the buckwheat to cook for 20 minutes or until the water has evaporated. Do not remove the lid during this period.
- Once the water has evaporated, remove the pot from the heat, and allow the buckwheat to sit for another 10 minutes.
- While the buckwheat is cooking, fry the bacon lardons in a fry pan until crunchy, then transfer to a dish; fry the onion on low heat in the bacon fat to slowly caramelise, adding the olive oil and perhaps a little butter if needed, then transfer to a dish; and lastly, fry the mushrooms on high heat in the same bacon-onion juices, again, adding a little more olive oil or butter needed, then set aside while you soft-boil the eggs.
- Remove the lid from the cooked buckwheat, fluff with a fork, stir through the salt, pepper, star anise, fish sauce, and half the mushrooms, bacon, and onion, and combine well.
- Distribute the cooked buckwheat kasha between two bowls, arrange the remaining half of the mushrooms, bacon, and onion on top of the kasha, along with the halves of soft-boiled eggs, and diced gherkin.
- Add a dollop of sour cream to each bowl, garnish with fresh dill, and wash down with black tea and lemon for breakfast or lunch, or shots of vodka if this is dinner.
Please do let us know in the Comments below if you make this Russian buckwheat kasha recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you, and we’d also love some feedback and a rating too.
Lara, I made this today and it was soooooo good!!!! My baba also made her kasha with boiled eggs, very hard boiled eggs, but I much prefer soft eggs. I made them very runny (too runny for my hubby!) and mixing the gooey yolk in with the kasha and mushies was just divine. Such a brilliant idea!
Lara Dunston says
Hi Tanya, so pleased that you enjoyed it! I can’t believe I only thought about making it with runny eggs recently. It was a revelation! No turning back for me now. Thank you so much for taking the time to drop by and leave a comment. Appreciated! :)
Is the fish sauce like Thai fish sauce, or something different?
Lara Dunston says
Yes, you can use Thai fish sauce – or Vietnamese fish sauce. I recommend a good quality fish sauce, such as Megachef. Brands like Squid are very salty. I know fish sauce sounds odd in Russian food, but it adds a little umami and it really works. I keep telling myself my Baboushka would have approved.