02/03/2012

Buckwheat & Rice Porridge

I've had a real hankering for porridge recently ...

First, buckwheat is not a grain - it is a seed; a pseudo-cereral.

While buckwheat is so very low in gluten that people with Coeliac Disease can happily ingest it without issue, it does have lectins.

Furthermore, it does have phytase, which is useful in breaking down phytic acid especially in other cereals that are higher in phytic acid - oats, for example.

Stephan Guyanet's article on how to eat grain gives us some insight into how to use sprouting, fermentation and cooking to reduce, if not remove, anti-nutrients in grains, legumes and cereals.

The main thrust of paleo eating is to eat widely available foods which do not present any digestive or health issues. Paleo sees no need to make other foods more ingestible, so why bother? Well, if I'm going to eat off the table, it might as well be the best it can be.

For this porridge, I used buckwheat flakes and rice flakes. Both types of flakes are made by steaming and rolling - the husks are removed and the starchy insides then dried off to make flakes. Both are high in carbohydrate with a reasonable protein profile: 85% carbohydrate, 10% protein and 5% fat. Buckwheat has zinc, iron and selenium.

Soaked overnight in buttermilk, which is a fermented dairy liquid from the leftovers of cream made into butter, to ensure that the cereal has the best chance reducing or removing remaining anti-nutrients, the liquid was poured off and then warmed through in a pan with water, and cream added towards the end of the cooking period.

Stirring with a spurtle for maybe five minutes while gently warming through turned the mixture from a loose texture to a much thicker texture which is how I think of porridge, porridge in the Scotch tradition.

Served out into a wide-brim bowl with a little sea salt sprinkled over ... just the ticket! Maybe a little coarser than a traditional Scotch oat porridge, but very much the warm, soft, sticky porridge I like.


For a particularly induldgent porridge, a nip of Whisky really lifts it!

But why not just use oats? Well, oats are high in phytic acid which binds to micronutrients (especially, zinc, iron, magnesium and calcium), blocking bioaccessibility. Otherwise, produced in the same manner: steamed and rolled, oats have a good profile.

Fermented overnight with a proportion of the cereal mix being buckwheat, providing a useful portion of phytase, the phytic acid can actually be reduced to insignificant levels and dramatically increasing the bioavailability of micronutrients therein.

I might just try that next time ... it'll probably be another year.

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