|Main ingredients||Cereal (buckwheat, wheat, barley, oats, millet or rye)|
|Cookbook: Kasha Media: Kasha|
In the English language, kasha is a term for the pseudocereal buckwheat. In Central and Eastern Europe, especially in Belarus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, 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. The share of buckwheat in the total consumption of cereals in Russia is 20%.
The word generally refers to roasted whole-grain buckwheat or buckwheat groats. 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.
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 the porridge made from buckwheat groats is known as гречневая каша (grechnevaya kasha). In Polish, buckwheat porridge is referred to as kasza gryczana. 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). 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
Kasha is one of the most popular 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 our kind of food". The expression has a political meaning as well; implying "it doesn't matter who rules Russia, we still starve anyway."
Kasha can be used at any meal, either as a dish in itself, or a side dish. They are cooked from a great variety of grains and their derivatives. There are three main types of Russian kasha: liquid, viscous and thick. The most loved in Russia is crumbly kasha seasoned with butter. Hence the Russian saying, "you'll never spoil kasha with a lot of butter". The most common additives for kasha are dairy products - milk, thick sour milk, sour cream, curd and cream.
In Jewish culture
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. Kasha is a popular filling for knishes and is sometimes included in matzah-ball soup.
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