Barley is a versatile grain with a nutty flavour and a chewy texture, similar to pasta. Introducing barley to my kid’s diet was in the mind when I thought of making barley chickpea pulao. Being aware of the nutritional benefits barely can provide us, I am very keen to try more recipes with it. I know, barley can be prepared in a number of ways and can be a good replacement for white rice.
I remember eating barley risotto at a friend’s long back. Today, I feel good about having been tried barley at home and my kids enjoying it. Barley is a cereal grain and is quite interesting to cook. It’s high in fibre and many important minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
What’s interesting to know is, that the ﬁber in most of the grains, is concentrated largely in the outer bran layer. But barley is different, the ﬁber is found throughout the whole grain, which makes it more beneficial for our body.
There are two types of barley we get to see in the market mostly.
Hulled barley, which is the whole grain form of barley, with only the outermost hull removed. Chewy and rich in fibre, it’s the healthiest kind of barley. However, it takes a little longer to cook in comparison to the pearl barley.
Pearl barley is kind of polished barley. It’s still chewy and nutritious, but because the outer husk and bran layers have been removed, the fibre and nutrition are lower when compared to whole grain barley.
The barley I have used today for the pulao is whole grain barley. Its a product from truefarms. I have introduced Truefarm Amaranth and Red Rice Poha to you in the earlier post last week. Truefarm has introduced many organic grains and cereals, trying to develop a healthier lifestyle globally. I have been working with them to develop interesting/ easy to follow/ healthy/ delicious recipes. And will be sharing more with you, as an when dishes turn out good and I am happy with the outcome. This is definitely making a change in my life. A happy positive change, I feel good.Truefarm Foods Organic Whole Grain Barley, 250g
There is nothing complicated in making this Barley chickpea Pulao at home.
I just need to guide you through the process of boiling barley for the needed texture.
To prepare whole grain barley, it must be soaked for a couple of hours to reduce the cooking time and achieve optimal flavour and texture.
After soaking the barley in twice its amount of water, it should be drained and rinsed before cooking.
To cook barley, add 1 cup of the barley to 3 cups of water and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the barley simmer for about 45 minutes.
You may need to test the barley every 5 minutes or so, near the end of the cooking process until it reaches your desired results.
Turn off the heat. Allow the barley to sit for 15 minutes without stirring so that it can continue absorbing any excess water.
If there’s still excess after letting the barley sit, you may need to drain the water away.
The same cooking process can be applied to pearled barley, minus the soaking step.
Note that the barley may produce a lot of foam and threaten to boil over the saucepan. Stirring the barley and watching it closely should help minimize the risk of accidental spills.
You can also boil barley using stews or broths, for extra flavours.
Barley can also be cooked in a pressure cooker and will require less time. One cup barely with three cups of water along with some salt will take 4 to 5 whistles on medium flame. Then turn off the gas and let it sit till all the steam escapes out and you can easily open the pressure cooker. You might have to drain out excess water when cooked in pressure cooker.
If you feel that you have overcooked barley, and it’s losing the grain shape. simply tip the boiled barley into a sieve and let the hot water Darin out then pour some cold water over the boiled barley. This will immediately stop the cooking process and you will be able to save the shape of the grain.
3 cups of boiled whole grain barley
Truefarm Foods Organic Whole Grain Barley, 250g
1 cup of boiled chickpeas
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 cup tomato puree
Few cherry tomatoes
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon of garam masala
Red chilly powder to taste
1 green chilly (slit)
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 to 3 cloves
1 bay leaf
One small piece of cinnamon stick
2 to 3 green cardamoms
2 teaspoons of ghee
Boil the barley as per the instructions are written above and set aside.
In a wok, add the ghee and add cumin seeds, bay leaf, clove, cinnamon stick, cardamons. On a medium to low flame let the spices cook for a minute or so. Add the sliced onions and cook they are translucent and light golden brown. Don’t overcook the onions and keep the flame medium.
Add the tomato puree and let it cook for 5 minutes. Add the salt and chilly powder along with the green chilly and cook till the oil starts to separate. Add the garam masala and add the cherry tomatoes cut in halves. Cook for a couple of seconds. It’s great not to overcook and lose the shape of cherry tomatoes at this stage. They taste really great and compliments the flavours.
Add the boiled chickpeas and mix all together. Add the boiled barley and using two big spoons bring all together. be gentle, when mixing all together.
Serve hot with delicious yoghurt raita.