There a version of Alu chhole, which means sour chickpeas, that in my opinion would make proud any Sher-e-Punjab (Lion of Punjab). These are known to be the most common name for Punjabis eating house in India.

This is a vegetarian, cheap, quite spicy and very popular party dish of the Northern parts of India.
For 4 people there what you need :
  • 2 Medium sized onoins, finely chopped.
  • 4 Cloves of garlic, cruched and finely chopped.
  • 1 or 2 Green chillis, finelly sliced.
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric.
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika.
  • 1 tablespoon Ground cumin.
  • 1 tablespoon Ground coriander.
  • 1 tablespoon Garam masala.
  • 4 Fresh, slightly over-ripped tomatoes, coarsely chopped.
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh coriander, coarsely chopped (at the last minute).
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh mint, coarsely chopped.
  • 225g/ 11/4 cup Cooked, chickpeas.*
  • Olive oil.
  • Salt/ Pepper.

In a heavy pan set on medium heat sweat off the onion and the garlic avoiding any coloration. Add the chilis, and all the spices and fry them for 2 minutes or so, stirring frequently. Then add in the tomatoes and half of the mint and coriander. Allow this sauce to simmer for ten minutes, stirring it from time to time. Finally put the cooked chickpeas and cook gently the chhole for 20 minutes. Before serving sprinkle the rest of the mint and coriander and rectifie the seasonning.

I advise you to cook this dish 24 hours in advance, because while resting the spice mix flavours will develop and reheating it will bring some depth to the chhole.

* If you cannot find any cooked chickpeas, soak dry chickpeas for 24 hours at room temperature then cook them for 1 hour (until soft) in salted water.

"Playwrights are like men who have been dining for a month in an Indian restaurant. After eating curry night after night, they deny the existence of asparagus."
Peter Ustinov

Vegetarian/ Vegan/ Gluten free/ Dairy free.


Rice and Gluten Intolerance

During my search for wheat substitutes for my coeliacs customers, I first looked at rice. Now in the western world we all know how to cook rice and serve it as a traditional accompaniment to fish dishes. As rice is the principal food for half of the world’s population, I decided to have a closer look into why and how rice and its flour make a good substitute for people with a sensitivity to the gliadin protein in gluten.

Rice is different to buckwheat, as it is a cereal. It is a plant of the Oriza family; native of the tropical and semi-tropical Indian sub-continent. It was domesticated in 7000 BC in the Yangtze river valley in China. It was brought to Europe via Persia and the Arabs who learned how to grow and cook it. The Moors first grew rice in Spain in the 8th Century, then it found its way to Sicily and Northern Italy in the 15th Century. It is the Spanish and Portuguese who introduced rice to the Americas in the 16th and 17th Century.
There are 100 000 distinct varieties of rice throughout the World. They all fall into one or two traditionally recognised subspecies of Oriza sativa. In Europe we are mostly familiar with the American long-grain rice, the short-grain type (for rice pudding) from China, Japan and Korea, the Arborio rice (risotto rice) from Italy, the brown rice that is a long-grain or short-grain unmilled type (wholemeal rice) and the red rice from the Camargue delta in France. Since the last 10 or 15 years, we can find those “fragrant” type of rice like the basmati from India and Pakistan, jasmine rice from Thailand and the US della rice. There are also the sticky rice from Northern Thailand and Laos and the wrongly named wild rice which is, in fact, the wholegrain of a distant relative, a cool climate type of water grass native of the Great Lakes region of North America.
Now let’s talk about rice flour. In the western world we are not too familiar with its uses. But in Asia it is traditionally used in a lot of various food preparations such as noodles, wrapping pastries, frying batters or steamed buns.

Rice flour is mainly made of starch, 90% of its overall constitution. It also contains 7% of proteins, 0.7% of fat and 2.3% of water. For coeliacs the most important constituent in flour is the protein content, so let’s have a closer look at the protein breakdown in rice flour. There are four different types of proteins classified by their solubility specifications. The first one is the water soluble albumin (10%), the second one is the water/salt soluble globulin (10%), then the acid soluble glutelins (75%) and finally, the alcohol soluble prolamins (5%). As you can see there is no gliadins nor glutenins. It is gluten free.
Rice flour is quite difficult to work with. First of all the lack of gluten makes it deficient in elastic capacities which are essential in bread making. It is also poor in water soluble proteins so it makes the absorption of water difficult. Nevertheless, this factor is interesting in the making of batters as they dry out faster when cooked. This quickly creates a shell that will protect the ingredients from the fats in which they are fried. And it is a healthier way of cooking fried food.
Still, rice flour is used to make gluten-free breads. This is made possible by the addition of xhantan* or guar*gum. These additives are polysaccharides which, basically, are molecules made of long chains of individual sugar units that makes the structure of carbohydrates. This is important to know because this type of additives are not suitable for diabetics.
These gums help the dough to gain elasticity and plasticity. They will also allow the mixture to catch CO2 from yeast or other leavening agent therefore raise to a relatively decent level. These types of breads will still have a much denser texture than wheat breads.
In conclusion, rice flour is mainly interesting as a substitute to wheat flour in the making of noodles and pasta dough as well as dumplings. It can also be interesting for the cooking of fritters and the making of wrapping pastry such as filo and struddle pastry. The Chinese even make oven chips with rice flour.

Here is a small brief about xanthan and guar gums. What they are and how they are produced. These types of additives are classified as thickening agents. Nowadays they are massively used by the food industry to thicken and stabalize the texture of sweets and pastries, processed meats, sauces, salad dressings, soups, ice-creams even mass produced breads. They are polysaccharides, which are long chains of individual sugar units. Basically they are what constitutes the main structure of all carbohydrates. Diabetics should be aware of such type of additives as they can increase the level of sugar in their blood.

*Xantan gum is a natural gum polysaccharides molecule produced by a biotechnological process involving the fermentation of glucose and sucrose by the Xanthomonas Campestris bacteria. It is also known as E 415.
*Guar gum is natural gum extracted from the guar bean (Cyamopsis Tetragonobola). This shrub is a native of India and Pakistan. It is also known as E 412


Mackerel marinated in white

There is a simple traditional recipe from the local fishermen from my homeland Brittany in France.
The following recipe would suit 4 people for a starter.
  • 8 Fillets of very fresh mackerel.
  • 1 Onion.
  • 2 Cloves of garlic.
  • 1 Large carrot.
  • 2 Shallots.
  • 10 Black peppercorns.
  • 3 Cloves.
  • 10 Graind of coriander.
  • 1 small Bunch of thyme.
  • 2 Bay leaves.
  • 1/2 Lit dry white wine.
  • 10 cl White wine vinegar.
  • 10 cl Lemon juice.

Slice finely the onion, carrot, shallots and the garlic. Place the fillets of mackerel in plastic type container. Add on the sliced vegetables as well as the thyme, bay leaf, coriander and peppercorns. Pour in the wine, lemon juice and the vinegar. Close the container and place in the fridge for 24 hours. The mackerels will keep well in the marinade in the fridge for three days after that it will get mushy.

You can serve it with a bunch of mixed leaves (I would recommend a mix of rocket, lambs lettuce and baby spinach) or a nice warm potato salad. The fishermen would just put it on a thick slice of buttered bread. So would I!

“Ni thuigeann an sach an seang
Irish proverb

Gluten free/ Dairy free.


Cold Cooking !!!

Throughout my years cooking in Ireland I encountered quite a lot of customers who would send back marinated fish dishes such as the ”mackerel” recipe that I posted on my blog, complaining that it was raw.
I always ask myself why is this. I decided then to go to have a talk with such customers to try to find an answer to my questions. I realised then that for them cooked food meant that the ingredients have been exposed to heat. This is not a misconception of the word cooking but meat, vegetables or fish can also be cooked without heat.
First of all let’s define the action of cooking. The Oxford dictionary says : “prepare by mixing, combining and heating the ingredients” or “be heated so that the state required for heating is reached”. But for the cook, cooking has two objectives, make the food easier to digest and create new flavours. For the scientist/cook, cooking means breaking down of proteins and chemical reactions.
What are the effects of heat on ingredients like fish or meat in a recipe. Heat will tenderise tough molecules and start chemical reactions that will create new aromatic compounds.
The molecule that makes meat or fish tough is called collagen. Women would be quite familiar with this type of protein as it is widely used in cosmetics. This protein constitutes a third of all animal protein. Collagen can be broken down by heat therefore making meat or fish easier to chew and digest.
But protein can also be broken down with acid such as vinegar,lemon juice or acidic compounds in wine. This will happen without heating by just placing the ingredients in a marinade for some time. So a fillet of fish placed in a marinade will be cooked with the acid in the mixture.
I came to the conclusion that the customers were mainly worried about food safety. And there are right to be concerned about it. One of the most important things is the freshness of the produce.
But there is another way of ensuring food is safe without using heat and this is where food science kicks in. The acid in a marinade acts as a preservative and there are very few strains of bacteria that would live or survive in an acidic environment. Pickles are a good example of the preservative effect of acids. Another example is ascorbic acid, more commonly named Vitamin C, is naturally present in lemon juice. The food industry make good use of this preservative, you can find it very often on food packaging under the number E300.
So feel confident, try marinated fish or meat dishes.



The other day I was passing by a supermarket from which came the gorgeous smell of roast chicken. Like Proust and his madeleine, this brought back memories of the traditional Sunday roast at home when I was a kid. Now that I am a chef, I am rarely able to recreate this for my customers as it is difficult to serve a whole chicken or leg of lamb on the same table.
How to make sure that the outcome of a roast becomes a great gastronomic experience everytime? I thought kitchen science could give it a push to the right direction.

Before starting to cook our roast, I would like to talk about the chemical reaction behind the flavour of roasted meat. It is produced by a chemical reaction called the “Maillard reactions”. The understanding of this principle will guaranty us a great outcome every time.
In simple words, the maillard reactions begin when, under the action of intense heat, a carbohydrate molecule (a sugar) reacts with a molecule of amino-acid (a protein) to create an unstable, intermediate structure. This new molecule called Amadori by-product will, then, be able to combine to other compounds in the meat, further along, during the cooking process. The final result of the Maillard reactions, is hundreds of different by-products that combined together create the meaty savoury flavour of the roast crust.

Just few words here about how to choose a cut of meat for a roast.I’m not going to talk here about the birds as most of them are eligible for roasting. But choosing a cut of lamb, beef or pork in the supermarket isn’t always simple as most of us go by the price. In an animal there are two types of muscles, therefore two main types of cut of meat.
The first one, are the working muscles like the leg, shoulder and arm. They do most of the work of supporting the animal, they contain a large proportion of what is called reinforcing connective-tissue, rich in collagen they are tough and require a long cooking to dissolve that collagen.
On the other hand rib, short loin and sirloin do less work, so have fewer connective-tissue and are tender and more suited to short cooking at high temperature.
A roast is always done in three steps : searing, cooking and resting.

The first step in cooking a roast is to sear the meat. It is simply done by cooking every sides of your cut of meat or bird (for this one stick a large wooden spoon through the inside cavity, it is then, easier to move it around), for a short time, in a very hot pan to a golden brown color. This is an important step, because this operation will ensure, first of all, that the meat will keep its moisture during the cooking process by creating a protective shell. It will also lay the base for the Maillard reactions by generating the Amadori by-product.
There are few tips to obtain a good searing result. First, make sure that your cut of meat or bird is dry on the outside. Then do not season the meat yet as the salt will extract some moisture out of the meat and the pepper will burn and give a very bitter taste. Using a brush, oil the meat on all its surfaces (do not over do it though!), it will help the transfer of heat from the pan to the meat.

The second step is the actual cooking of your cut of meat. This operation seems pretty simple, just throw the meat in a roasting tray, put it in the oven for what ever amount of time and forget about it. In fact it isn’t that simple. If you want to achieve a crispy outside crust and a juicy, tender center, you will have to keep a close eye on the temperature of the oven.
Kitchen science tells us that the principle of cooking meat in the oven is to minimise the loss of moisture and compacting the meat fiber while maximising the conversion of tough connective-tissue, collagen, to fluid gelatin. Unfortunately, these to actions are contradicting. To avoid the loss of moisture the meat cannot be cooked over 130-145F or 55-60C (at core) but the collagen needs prolonged cooking above 160F or 70C for a long period of time. This is a problem when roasting a chicken, turkey or other birds because the meat in the breasts is made of fewer connective-tissue, but the meat in the legs is mainly made of such tissue. The result is dryer, tougher meat in the breasts, and under cooked juicy meat in the legs. There is the answer to why meat connoiseur will prefer the leg to the breast of a roast bird.
So, to obtain a good result while roasting your cut of meat or bird, start with a relatively hot oven 180-200C, turning the meat from time to time (use a wooden spoon, you don’t want to break the protective shell created earlier) until the crust is done. Then, only, reduce the temperature of the oven to 160-170C to cook the meat trough. When roasting a bird, protect the breast with a bit of tin foil to avoid that they over-cook. You can season the meat now, just before putting it in the oven.

How long should you cook your roast? There is no definite answer to that. The usual will be a minutes per pound of meat. The new research on the subject shows that isn’t accurate, the cooking time is proportional to the weight squared, or to the weight to 2/3 the power of the oven. So, the best way is to check the temperature at core or like chefs do by touch.

There a guide line on doneness :

- Bleu 110F/45C, soft raw like to the touch.
- Rare 120F/50C, becoming firmer to the touch.
- Medium-rare 130F/55C, resilient to the touch.
- Medium 140F/60C, begins to shrink, losing resilience, exude juice when pressing it.
- Medium-well 150F/67C, little resilience, less free juice when pressing it.
- Well-done 160F/72C, stiff, dry.
- V well-done 170F/75C, stiffer, very dry, grey color.

The last step is the resting. The purpose of this final step is to allow the meat fiber to “relax” and allow the juices to migrate to the center of the roast. It take from 5 to 15 minutes depending on the doneness of the meat. A rare meat will require 5 minutes and a v-well-done one 15 minutes. Little tip place the meat on rack or grid on the top of the opened oven door while the oven is still hot.
Then skim the fat out of the roasting tray, put it on the ring, add a couple of carrots coarsely chopped, an onion prepared in the same way, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, some thyme and halve a bay leaves. Cook it for 10 minutes, add a cup of wine and scrub the brown bits at the bottom of the tray. Allow to simmer for another 10 minutes. Filter that juice it make a great gravy base or as we call it in France “jus de roti” (roast juice).
I hope it can help!


Tempura batter

Tempura refers to Japanese deep fried, batter-deeped seafood or vegetables. The word tempura or tenpura, in Japanese, come from a Latin expression “ad tempura cuaresmae” which means in time of lent. In fact, batter-coated deep frying was introduced to the Japanese by Catholic Portuguese missionaries during the 16th Century.
Nowadays, a wide variety of ingredients are used in tempura, from seafood to vegetables, fish, tofu and fruits even buckwheat noddles, ice-creams and bananas.
It is also an interesting, type of batter for people with intolerance to the gliadin protein as the rice flour used in the batter is gluten free.

There is a recipe for tempura batter :

  • 0.400g Rice flour.
  • 1 Egg yolk.
  • 0.100g Iced water.

It is very simple, as traditionally a good tempura batter must have lumps, you don’t have to worry about them.

Just mix all the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. Be careful though, you may not need all the water as the right thickness is like the one of creme fraiche or yoghurt. Allow to rest for 1 hour.

It is easy to use, pre-heat your frier to 140 degres celsius, coat the dry ingredients in the batter and deep fry them, 2 or 3 at the time, for 3 to 4 minutes.

Ice-cream tempura (They love it in Japan!)

“Talk doesn’t cook rice”
Chinese proveb

Dairy free/Glten free/ Vegetarian/ Vegan


Quinoa Tortilla

There is a simple recipe that is suitable for gluten intolerant people, vegetarians and vegans. They can be used as a substitute wrapper for burritos or fajitas.

You will need :

  • 375g Quinoa flour.
  • 50g Quinoa seeds.
  • 15g Rock sea salt.
  • 187.5g Luke-warm water.

First of all wash or roast the quinoa seeds (follow the indications described in my post on quinoa flour). Mix all the dry ingredients and add the water progressively. Gather the dough into a ball and knead until it is no longer sticky.

Leave to rest for at least 1 hour.

Roll down some of the dough a disc of 4 inches of diameter and 3 to 4 mm thick.

Cook them on a thick pan heated on a medium fire for 30 seconds on each side.

“Thou shouldst eat to live, not live to eat”


Dairy free/ Gluten free/ Vegetarian/ Vegan.


Buckwheat Muffin with pesto and pinenuts

There is a quite interesting gluten free recipe that I was used to serve with an accompaniment of parma ham and a poached egg. Take the parma ham away and you get a nice vegetarian dish too.
For this recipe you will need :

  • 200g Buckwheat flour.
  • 15g Baking powder.
  • 1 tea spoon Baking soda.
  • 1 large spoon Pesto.
  • 80g Butter.
  • 20g Pine kernel.
  • 2 Eggs.
  • 1 large spoon of Double cream.
  • 125g Milk.
  • 125g Greek yogurt.
  • Pinch of salt and pepper.

First toast the pine nuts and cool them down. Then mix, well, all the dry ingredients and add the eggs and the pesto, whisk energetically for a couple of minutes. Finally mix in the yogurt, cream, melted butter and milk. Leave to rest for 1/2 hour.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Fill some small (individual size) well greased mould up to 2/3 of its height and bake them for roughly 20 to 30 minutes.

“Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what's for lunch"

Orson Wells

Gluten free/ Vegetarian.


The Little Blue Cats

These are the cutest chocolate treats that I have ever come across. Les "mini chats bleus", (the mini blue cats).
They are the fruit of the imagination of the two elderly sisters that opened a sweetshop in 1912, in the little sea resort of Le Touquet in Normandie, France. The shop took the name of "Au chat bleu" (The Blue cat) after the couple of blue Persian cats that these two Ladies were used to have hanging the shop.
The shop strove through "La grande époque" of Le Touquet to finally establish itself at its present location rue St Jean in 1929.
Until 1939 , Le chat bleu kept pace with the wild heyday of Le Touquet. The delivery boy rode his bicycle through the woods, taking boxes of the renowned chocolates to the private villas and big hotels.
Today, the expression "faire un chat bleu" has become part of the tradition of Le Touquet for children and grownups alike. This mean that you don't need any reasons to give yourself a treat.
Those chocolates (on the pictures) are made of a fine creamy hazelnut filling in a sandwich between two layers of crunchy praliné, then covered with either dark, milk or white chocolate.
A really good mix!!!

If you ever go to France you will find them in four different towns and cities :

- Le Chat Bleu, 47bis, Rue St Jean, Le Touquet (Normandy)
- Le Chat Bleu, 3 Rue des Manneliers, Lille (Nord)
- Le Chat Bleu, 85 Boulevard Hausmann, Paris
- Le Chat Bleu, 5, Rue de Guénodet, Quimper (Britanny)


Bahn Xeo with a little twist

There is a gluten free recipe that I came across while researching facts on rice flour. It is a traditional Vietnamese recipe known as Banh xeo. In Vietnam it is used to wrap mince meat or stir fried vegetable and dipped in nuoc nam. I modified it, a tiny bit, to make a gluten free dessert for the restaurant.

It goes like this :

  • 430g Rice flour.
  • A pinch of turmeric.
  • 20g Dessicated coconut.
  • 60g Icing sugar.
  • 1 tea spoon Baking powder.
  • 500g Coconut milk.
  • 3 Bananas.
  • 50g Brown sugar.

First toast the dessicated coconut until a slight blond color, let it cool down for a while. Then in bowl mix well all the dry ingredients, excepted the brown sugar, then whisk in the coconut milk. Allow to rest for and hour.
Cook a small amount of the batter on non-stick pan placed over a medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Meanwhile cut the bananas in pieces a couple of inches thick, roll them in the brown sugar and roast them for 6 minutes in a very hot oven.
Serve a couple of warm pancakes alongside 5 pieces of bananas and top it up with a spoon of sweet whipped cream.
The batter can be kept for 3 days in the fridge.

“Never eat more than you can lift”
Miss Piggy

Dairy free, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian.


How to choose a fish?

Ask the expert!

While I would never go against the judgement of your local fishmonger, here are few tips to choose a fish in the supermarket, . It works in three sensory steps ; appearance, texture and smell.

First of all let’s check a whole/gutted fish.


Eyes : bright and bulging, a clear cornea and shining black pupil.
Gills : glossy, bright red or pink.
Skin : glossy, scales adhering tightly ; clear mucus if present.


Firm and elastic to touch (ask the sales assistant to do it for you. You will notice that the marks made by his/her finger on the skin are visible for a second or two if the fish is fresh).


Inoffensive, quite inexistent, slight sea smell.

Now let’s check a fillet of fish.


Skin : glossy.
Flesh : Raw looking, transparent, no bruising or blood spotting.


Firm and elastic to the touch (ask the sales assistant to do it for you. You will notice that the finger marks left by his/her hands on the flesh will only last a second or two if the fish is fresh).


Inoffensive, slight sea smell.


Kig Ha Farz or "Dough and Meat"

There is very traditional recipe from a quite small region of Brittany called “Bas Leon” which is situated to the North-Est of the western tip of Brittany. Kig ha farz means meat and dough. It is a peasant dish based on a buckwheat dough cooked in a linen bag, vegetables and low cuts of meat.
There no real written recipes for Kig ha farz as the Breton language was mainly transmitted through word of mouth. I will give you here a recipe that I got from a local farmer’s wife few years back.

This would serve about 10 people :

· 6 pig Shanks.
· 600g pig Belly.
· 800g Oxtail.
· 600g beef Shoulder.
· 2 or 3 lamb Shanks.

2 large Leeks.
8 Carrots.
3 large Onions.
1 green Cabbage.
6 medium white Turnips.
8 Potatoes.
3 cloves of Garlic.
1 Bay leaf.
10 Peppercorns.

500g Buckwheat flour.
30g Salt.
20g Sugar.
50g melted Butter.
50g melted Lard.
1/2 pint Milk.
250g Creme Fraiche or sour cream.
2 Eggs.
In large pot place all the vegetables peeled and washed with all the meats. Then cover with water and bring to the boil.
In a large bowl place the flour, sugar and salt. Mix in the eggs then fold the lard, butter and creme fraiche. Finish by adding the milk to bring the mix to a thick Consistancy (you may not need all the milk).
Pour the dough mix in a linen bag (see picture on the left) and close tightly with a peace of sting. Place it in the pot with the rest of the ingredients. Cook slowly for 4 hours.

When the dough and meat is cook take the bag out and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Then place it on a clean surface and roll it form side to side while apllying some pressure. Then open it.
Traditionally the bouillon obtained is served as a first course. Then the vegetables, the meats and the dough as a main-course.
This is a bit of work but it is an all in one dish. It is suitable for coeliacs as buckwheat flour is gluten free.

“The way you cut your meat reflects the the way live”

Gluten free, suitable for pregnant women, contains dairy.


Buckwheat pancakes or "galette bretonne"

If I was asked what is my favourite dish in the whole World I think it would be this one, La galette bretonne. There is a multitude of recipes for buckwheat pancakes in Brittany probably as many as there are of inhabitants. This one comes from my Grand-mother who got it from her mother and so on for generations. Note that it is the base for the pancake itself, I leave the choice of fillings to your imagination.

For about 12 pancakes you need :
  • 500g Buckwheat flour.
  • 100g melted Butter.
  • 2 whole Eggs.
  • 1/4L Milk.
  • 3/4l warm Water.
  • pinch of Salt.

In a large bowl, place the flour and the salt, add the eggs and mix well for 10 minutes. Then add the milk and the warm water, finish by adding the melted butter. Allow to rest for at least 1 hour at room temperature.
Take a large non-stick pan and spread some of the mix. Cook the pancake on a medium heat for 6min then using a paletknife carefully flip it over and cook it for a further 6 minutes.

You can choose all sorts of ingredients to fill your panecakes, eggs, cheese, mushrooms, smoked salmon and cream cheese, ham you name it.
Buckwheat pancakes are suitable for coeliac gastronomes.
I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!

“Ne voket bras lod pep hini, Heman zo vel urgrampouezhenn etre nav c’hi”

Breton proverb

Gluten free, vegetarian, suitable for pregnant women. Contains dairies. Freeze well.


Buckwheat and gluten intolerance

A couple of years ago I was having a chat with my Dad about the increase in the number of customers with gluten intolerance that I encountered in the restaurant. He told me then, that there was one particularly well known type of flour in my homeland of Brittany that was gluten free. It was Buckwheat flour. I have to say I was surprised, because to me buckwheat flour was in the same category of wheat flour. I decided then to look into it.
Grains or cereals based food is at the base of people’s diet throughout the world. But some of them suffer from a well known condition : gluten-sensitive enteropathy, coeliac disease or sprue that disqualify them for the enjoyment of those lavish cakes, biscuits, breads, porridge, or pasta dishes.

How does coeliac disease work? The body simply forms defensive antibodies against a portion of the harmless gliadin proteins in wheat, barley, rye and possibly oats. These white cells end up attacking the nutrient-absorbing cells in the intestine therefore causing serious malnourishment. Unfortunately the standard remedy is total avoidance of all gluten-containing foods. This is when buckwheat comes on board.

Buckwheat is a plant from the order of the polygonace. This is not a cereal. The different species are polygonum fagopyrum, P tartaricum, P emarginatum. This is a relative of rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat is a native of central Asia and was domesticated in China or India about a 1000 years ago. It was brought to Europe in the middle ages. It tolerates poor growing conditions and matures in a little over 2 months. It is commonly harvested in September and October.

Buckwheat kernels are triangular, 4-9 mm across with a dark pericarp. Intact seeds with the hull (pericarp) removed are called groats. It is about 80% starch and 14% protein mostly globulin and contains about twice the amount of oil than most cereals. The poor levels of protein and the absence of gluten make it inadequate to traditional yeast bread making or cake baking.
There is the nutrient breakdown for a 100g.
Water 13.4g, protein 11.5g, carbohydrates 71g, fat 2.3g, cholesterol 0, thiamin 0.4mg, calcium 71mg, phosphorus 337mg, zinc 0.3mg, magnesium 251mg, iron 0.4mg, potassium 577mg, calorie 290kcal.

Buckwheat flour contains a small amount of mucilage, a complex carbohydrate a bit like amilopeptine (component of starch), that can absorb water and make dough or batter hold together. The distinctive taste of cooked buckwheat is nutty, smoky, green with a slight fishy note.

Buckwheat is a staple food in parts of China, Korea and Nepal and was the basis of the diet of celtic tribes and peasants in Brittany. In the Himalayan region it takes the form of chillare(a type of flat bread), fritters or sweets.The Japanese make Soba(a type of noddles), the Italians mix it with corn meal to make pizzocherri(a type of polenta) and in Russia it is used to make a nutty porridge called kasha.

This is why it makes an excellent substitute to wheat flour for the making of flat breads, sweet or savoury pancakes, noddles or porridges despite its poor level of mucilage and plastic proteins.