Rock the Kasha

As a newcomer to New York City x amount of years ago, the introduction to the Polish diner was a gustatory revelation.  Pierogis, kielbasa, and challah french toast pleased my Californian palette and student wallet, but I never quite got Kasha Varnishkes.  Buckwheat on top of pasta?  Isn’t that just starch on starch?

It wasn’t until I made Mark Bittman’s Kasha Varnishkes from an October 22, 2008 New York Times that I understood the beauty of the dish.  Kasha provided a nutty, textural foil to the tender noodles, but the real star was the carmelized onion to tie it all together.  I cooked the onions in olive oil, but I can only imagine how good it would be in schmaltz.  The eminence of the sweet onions and starch reminded me of another delicious starchy starch combo – mujaddarah.  And I’d  be able to find both side by side in the East Village, my old stomping ground.


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