Sunday 20 February 2011

Kamut as you like it!

Kamut® Field

Last weekend, Dean, Nina and I flew to Germany to visit our friends Raj, Varsha and their cute son Vivek. They live in in a lovely spa town called Bad Homburg. Raj and Varsha are some of the most generous and giving friends we have, they are such wonderful hosts and always spoil us rotten. They are also big time foodies and are both great cooks. On Friday, Varsha cooked some amazing Indian food for us (watch this space, as I will publish some of her lip licking recipes in a later post). 

They took us to an exciting seasonal and organic restaurant that specializes in wine made with apples (or what we know as apple cider). If you happen to visit the area, I thoroughly recommend this place: (their website is in German only). It is the only restaurant that I’ve been to that has a sommelier to go through the apple wine list with you. I must say that the aperitif we had - made with elderberry syrup - doesn’t lose out to any Kir Royal made with “proper” champagne.

We also visited an organic farm which sells raw milk and many other organic produce from a local cooperative. There, I found so many delicious things I was like a child lost in a toy shop. One of the things I brought home was Kamut grains* which here in England I could only buy in health stores in the form of pastas or flour.

Well, after 3 days releasing my carnivore side (the Germans enjoy their meats, from Bratwurst sausages to organic sustainable deer) my digestive system is in need of a rest. We are now back home and our bodies are asking for mercy from gluttony too. We are going meat-free this week. I will experiment with cooking the Kamut® grains with whatever vegetables I have available in my pantry.

I invite you to join me.

The ingredients
Roast the butternut squash and the kale

My Kamut® salad! 

Kamut® with roasted butternut squash, sundried tomatoes and oven crispy kale.
serves 4
* Kamut® is a trademark for an ancient variety of grain called khorasan. It is twice or more the size of modern wheat grain. Its origin is known to be in Egypt more than 5,000 years ago. About 2,000 years later, it has nearly been replaced by other strains but some farmers continued to grow it due to its rich flavour. Sadly, soon after the Second World War it became virtually extinct, when growers started to higher-yield hybridized wheat. Like modern wheat, Kamut® has many properties but it is far less allergenic and easier to digest. Some tests have shown that two-thirds of people who suffer from wheat intolerance will have less or no allergy to Kamut® but celiacs and people with gluten intolerance should first make sure they don’t have any reactions to it.
This dish is a great source of healthy carbohydrates, fibre and protein. Kamut® has a delicate flavour and finer texture than most of the other grains.
If you can’t get hold of Kamut®, you can substitute it for quinoa, pearl barley, farro, wheat berries or any grains you like.

180g Kamut® grain 
600 ml fresh chicken stock or water
1 medium butternut squash
Ghee * (or olive oil)
200g kale, without stalks
2 Tbsp olive oil
Oven roasted tomatoes** (see link for supplier bellow)
20g Fresh coriander leaves
2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

If you want the Kamut to cook quicker leave it soaking overnight. Then wash it. In a medium pan, sautée the garlic with olive oil but do not let it burn, add the drained Kamut, stir until the grains are coated with the oil. Add the stock or water, bring to a boil and let it simmer for approx 40-50 min. If you cook it without soaking first, repeat the instructions above and let it simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Check it regularly until it’s cooked all way through.

While the grain is cooking, cut the butternut squash in small cubes, mix with ghee (or olive oil), season with sea salt and put in the oven for approx 20 min. Reserve.

Separate the kale leaves from the stalks and shred. Toss with some olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Put in the oven, turn once after 5 min, cook for 5 min more or until they reach a crispy texture, but be careful not to burn. Reserve.

Combine the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl and whisk.

When the Kamut is cooked, it should have a chewy texture. Add it to a mixing bowl with the butternut squash, sundried tomatoes, coriander leaves and dressing. Taste for seasoning. Toss well to combine.

Serve with the crispy kale as a light lunch or a side dish. Yum!

The ingredients and their functional properties

Kamut®(Triticum turgidum) is rich in protein and essential fatty acids. It is high in selenium, contains magnesium, zinc and vitamin B1 (Thiamin). You can buy Kamut® grains here: 

Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata) is a good source of complex carbohydrates and vitamin A. It reduces inflammation. The juice, when applied to a burn, relieves the pain. Butternut squash and its seeds are known for the treatment of worm. 

Kale (Brassica oleracea) has anti-inflammatory properties. Its juices can be used to treat stomach ailments and duodenal ulcers. It is a great source of chlorophyll, folic acid, calcium, vitamin C and iron. 

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) can prevent the build up of cholesterol in the arteries, reducing LDL (“bad” cholesterol). It contains high levels of antioxidants.  It is used as a remedy for bladder disturbances; soothes ulcers in the mouth and throat and strengthens the gums. The molasses is made by boiling the juice of the fruit and reducing it to a thick dark brown liquid. It is commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes. 

*Ghee (or clarified butter) is a butter that has had its milk solids removed. According to the Ayurveda Medicine, ghee promotes the healing of injuries and reduces inflammation of the gastro-intestinal tract, such as IBS, colitis and ulcers. It also helps food absorption and assimilation, enhancing the nutritional value of the foods we cook. It contains a fatty acid that has anti-viral and anti cancer properties. It has antioxidant properties that boost our immune system. Ghee is a great choice for cooking as it has a high smoke point. 

Tomatoes/Oven roasted tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) stimulates the regeneration of liver tissue, tonifies the stomach, purifies the blood. It helps relieves high blood pressure and headache. Altought tomato is an acidic fruit, it alkalizes the blood after digestion. It contains Lycopene, an antioxidant with anti cancer properties (organic tomato products like ketchups or sauces delivers three times more Lycopene than a non organic brand). It has been shown to increase its anti-cancer properties, especially when cooked or consumed with  olive oil, avocado or nuts. The carotenoids present in tomatoes are fat soluble and are well absorbed into the body with the fats mentioned above. Cautions: Everyone should avoid  consuming a large amount of tomatoes in any one day as it upsets the balance of calcium metabolism, especially if you suffer from arthritis.
            ** I do like oven roast my own cherry tomatoes but as they are not in season I buy these delicious oven roasted tomatoes from the Tomato Stall people:

            I will feature in a later post how to make ghee but if you don't want to wait you can
            buy it from most health food stores or Asian food stores.

            Thanks Raj, Varsha and Vivek for a weekend of "gastro-happiness".

            Till next week! 



            1. Your blog is an inspiration. The food sounds and looks great. I can't find kamut grains where I live, but i'll try the dish with wheat grains instead.

            2. You have a lovely write style. I'm taking advantage of the recipes, the pics, and english lessons. Everthing for free? How much should I pay for the nutritional advise included? Very good! You've been working a lot. Congratulations!

            3. Sounds delicious and wonderfully nutritious! :) Also thank you for the links to where to buy the kamut and the oven-roast tomatoes - very handy!

            4. Thank you ladies!

              Helena, I am sure the wheat grains would work just as fine. Enjoy it!

              Rose, I am happy to hear that you are getting a lot more from the blog than the recipes only.

              Li-Or, you are welcome. Those oven-roast tomatoes are de-li-ci-ous!


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