There’s been a long-standing prejudice toward buckwheat in the macrobiotic teachings. This is unfortunate as buckwheat can be a very nice addition to one’s whole grain repertoire. The macrobiotic view of many over the last 15 years has maintained a stubborn stance that buckwheat will make a person “too yang.” And since so many have developed a fear of being too yang, buckwheat is avoided.
There is also the view that buckwheat is an exclusively cold weather grain since it is a favorite in Russia. “Buckwheat makes you yang and hot!” the macrobiotic counselor admonishes. As a result, it seems to me that the macrobiotic view has been unnecessarily one-dimensional when it comes to buckwheat.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, on the other hand, buckwheat is used to remove excess heat from the body. In Japan cool buckwheat (soba) noodles are used during the hottest and most humid days of the year to reduce heat and excess dampness in the body.
If you’ve ever cooked whole buckwheat, you saw how much faster it absorbs water compared to all other whole grains. It has a water-absorbing nature. This can be useful for anyone who tends to pool excess dampness internally. This excess dampness can make one feel quite miserable on hot and humid days, because the moisture in the body that normally evaporates through the skin can’t, due to the excess moisture in the humid air. Eating some buckwheat or soba noodles can help. I don’t suggest that buckwheat is to be eaten three times daily for weeks on end. Just try it once. If it makes you feel hot, OK, then you won’t want to use it in hot weather. On the other hand, it might help you feel better in hot weather. You have to find out for yourself.
Usually buckwheat dishes served in hot weather are served at room temperature, not hot.
A favorite recipe of mine for a hot weather buckwheat dish is Buckwheat Salad. It is served at room temperature or, if you prefer, slightly chilled.
Yield: 5 to 5½ cups
3 cups cooked buckwheat groats (pre-cook in
water and sauerkraut juice)
pinch of sea salt
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 cup steamed, chopped kale or leftover leafy greens
1 cup chopped, drained sauerkraut
½ cup red cabbage, thinly sliced, blanched and sprinkled with
¼ tsp brown rice vinegar to brighten and preserve the color
¼ to ½ cup soy sauce
1 tsp ginger juice
Sauté finely chopped parsley in a very small amount of water. Mix the parsley with the buckwheat. Mix in the steamed, chopped kale and chopped sauerkraut. Mix the soy sauce and ginger juice, pour over the buckwheat salad, and mix in.
Barley-Vegetable Salad with Ginger Dressing
3 cups leftover cooked barley
½ cup carrots, diced
¼ cup celery, diced
¼ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup red radish, halved and thinly sliced
¼ cup sweet corn, removed from the cob
¼ cup green peas or green beans
5 shiitake mushrooms, soaked and diced
½ cup cooked chickpeas
¼ cup seitan, diced
1. Place the cooked barley, chickpeas, red onion, red radish, celery, seitan and chickpeas in a mixing bowl.
2. Place a small amount of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
3. Boil the sweet corn for 1½ minutes, the carrot for 1½ minutes, and the green peas or green beans for 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Place in the mixing bowl.
5. Place ½ inch water in a saucepan and season with tamari soy sauce for a slightly salty flavor.
6. Place the shiitake mushrooms in the saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil.
7. Reduce the flame to medium‑low and simmer for about 10 minutes until tender.
8. Remove and drain.
9. Add the shiitake to the other ingredients in the mixing bowl.
10. Set the cooking water aside and use for soup stock.
1 Tbsp. tamari soy sauce
¼ to ⅓ tsp. ginger juice
½ to 2/3 cup water
1. To prepare the dressing, place the tamari soy sauce and water in a saucepan and heat.
2. Turn off the flame, and add the ginger juice, and mix.
3. Mix the barley and vegetables in the mixing bowl.
4. Pour the tamari‑ginger dressing over the barley salad just before serving. Place in a serving dish.
Millet and Chickpeas Salad
(using leftover millet and chickpeas)
3 cups cooked millet
1 cup cooked chickpeas
½ cup red onion, diced
½ cup green peas, shelled
¼ cup carrot, diced
1 Tbsp burdock, diced
½ cup sweet corn, removed from cob (or ½ cup frozen organic corn)
1 Tbsp chives, scallion, or parsley, chopped
3 umeboshi plums, pits removed
3 Tbsp organic roasted tahini
1 Tbsp onion, finely grated
¾ cup water
1. Place the millet, chickpeas, and red onion in a mixing bowl.
2. Blanch the green peas for 2 minutes in boiling water.
3. Remove, drain, and place in the mixing bowl.
4. Blanch the carrot for I minute, the burdock for 2 minutes, and the sweet corn for 1 ½ minutes.
5. Place in the mixing bowl.
1.Grind the umeboshi plums in a suribachi until it becomes a smooth paste.
2. Add the tahini and grind again until evenly mixed with the umeboshi.
3. Add the onion and grind.
4. Slowly add the water, pureeing constantly until the dressing is smooth and creamy.
5. Pour the dressing over the millet salad ingredients and mix thoroughly.
6. Place in a serving bowl.
7. Garnish with chopped chives.
Sweet ‘n Easy Brown Rice
• 1 medium yellow onion, diced
• 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
• 2 teaspoons sesame oil (toasted or regular)
• 3-4 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
• 2 teaspoons ginger juice from freshly grated ginger
• 1 scallion, cut into thin strips
• Shoyu (natural soy sauce) to taste
1. Heat the oil in a skillet.
2. .Saute onions for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add carrot matchsticks and saute 2-3 minutes. Reduce flame.
4. Place the cooked rice on top of the onions and carrots. DO NOT MIX.
5. Add just enough water to create steam. Cover and allow to steam for about 10 minutes on a low flame.
6. Mix together. Season with a little shoyu, add the ginger juice, and continue steaming for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
7. Serve on an attractive plate with the scallion garnish.<br />
© Macrobiotics America
P.O. Box 1874
Orovile, CA 95965