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Гречневая каша.jpg
Buckwheat kasha
Main ingredientsCereal (buckwheat, wheat, barley, oats, millet or rye)

In the English language, kasha is a term for the pseudocereal buckwheat. In Central and Eastern Europe, especially in Belarus, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine, kasha is a dish made of any kind of grains boiled in water or milk, i.e. a porridge.

The largest gross consumption per capita is in Russia, with 15 kg (33 lb) per year followed by Ukraine, with 12 kg (26 lb) per year.[1] The share of buckwheat in the total consumption of cereals in Russia is 20%.[2]

This English-language usage probably originated with Jewish immigrants, as did the form קאַשיkashi (technically plural, literally translated as "porridges").[3]

The word generally refers to roasted whole-grain buckwheat or buckwheat groats.[citation needed] However, in Slavic Europe, it refers to porridge in general and can be made from buckwheat or any cereal wheat, barley, oats, millet and rye. At least 1,000 years old, kasha is one of the oldest known dishes in Central European and Eastern European cuisine.[4]

In Russian, buckwheat is referred to formally as гречиха (grechikha) and buckwheat grain and buckwheat groats as гречневая крупа (grechnevaya krupa). Informally, buckwheat grain and buckwheat groats are called гречка (grechka), and gretshkes/greytshkelach or retshkes/reytshkelach in Yiddish. The porridge made from buckwheat groats is known as гречневая каша (grechnevaya kasha).

In Polish, boiled buckwheat groats are referred to as kasza gryczana. Kasza can mean any kind of porridge as well as being a reference to a variety of cereal such as millet (kasza jaglana) or pearl barley (kasza jęczmienna perłowa). Annual (2013) per capita consumption of groats in Poland is approx. 1.56 kg (3.4 lb) per year (130 g (4.6 oz) a month).[5] The Czech cognate kaše (Czech pronunciation: [kaʃɛ] has a wider meaning, also encompassing mashed potato (bramborová kaše), pease pudding (hrachová kaše) etc.

In Russian culture[edit]

Kasha is one of the Russian national dishes, together with shchi. Kasha is commemorated in the Russian saying, "щи да каша – пища наша" (shchi da kasha – pishcha nasha) literally "shchi and kasha are our food" or, more loosely, "cabbage soup and porridge are what we eat". The expression has an existential meaning as well; implying "it doesn't matter what happens in Russia at large, we still live the same way."

The types of Russian kasha: savory (with salt) or sweet (with salt and sugar); with water or milk used as a base; liquid, viscous and thick.

The most loved in Russia is crumbly buckwheat kasha (consisting of buckwheat, water and salt) seasoned with butter. Buckwheat kasha can be used at any meal, either as a dish in itself, or a side dish. It is often served with fried onions as an adult meal while children love it with milk poured into the plate.

Other popular kashas are millet one, semolina one (манная каша) and oatmeal. Cooked with milk and sugar, they are often seen as staple meals for children.

Butter is a necessary ingredient in most kashas. Hence the Russian saying, "you'll never spoil kasha with a lot of butter".[6]

In Jewish culture[edit]

As an Ashkenazi-Jewish comfort food, kasha is often served with onions and brown gravy on top of bow tie pasta, known as kasha varnishkes.[7] Kasha is a popular filling for knishes[8] and is sometimes included in matzah-ball soup.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ No 8 [008] 26 жовтня, 2007; [www.agro-business.com.ua/.../1655-2013-06-25-11]
  2. ^ Russian Market of Buckwheat in 2009 - September 2010 Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Steinmetz, Sol. Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms. p. 42. ISBN 0-7425-4387-0.
  4. ^ Molokhovets, Elena (1998). Classic Russian Cooking. Indiana University Press. p. 331.
  5. ^ Biuletyn Informacyjny ARR 4/2013, Handel Wewnętrzny 4/2013 IBRKK
  6. ^ Nourish Your Language: Foodie Words Refashioned
  7. ^ "Le Cordon Jew". May 22, 2008. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-04-21. Retrieved 2007-05-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). Retrieved May 30, 2007.

External links[edit]