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Thursday, November 25, 2021

Barley Khichdi / Spicy Barley - Lentil Stew

(This was originally published on 3/13/2011.)

When trying out new grains and that too when I am not sure how well our palates are going to receive the new textures, I prefer to go back to my own cuisine to borrow ideas. The south Indian cuisine, the familiar zone seems so comforting and forgiving like a mother. When I have to deal with the unfamiliar grains for the first time, I prefer to combine the typical ingredients used in my (south Indian) kitchen and add spices for more layers of flavor. This barley dish is a proof of it.

Though barley is available in India, it was never used in my mother's or any relatives' kitchens. I used barley for the first time when I prepared this barley - raisin bread. The barley I have been left with has gone in to the preparation of typical Indian style dishes.

Barley has a chewy texture when cooked that I am not very fond of. I have therefore allowed the barley to cook until it reached a fall apart stage, where you don't feel its texture at all. As I mentioned above, this dish relies on South Indian style cooking and is somewhat a cross between Karnataka's Bisibelebhath and Tamilnadu's Kadamba Saadam. I simply called it a khichdi since I didn't want to wreck my brains in search of a perfect name for this dish. This was a wholesome, healthy and hearty meal that was liked by everyone at our home.

 Ingredients: (Yield - 4 servings)
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup pigeon peas / toordal
1 cup chopped mixed veggies (I used carrots, green beans, potatoes, peas)
A pinch of ground turmeric 
Salt to taste
2 to 3 tbsp. thick tamarind juice (extracted by soaking about lemon sized tamarind in water) 
Ingredients for seasoning:
2 tsp. ghee / oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
Ingredients for spice powder:
2 tbsp. split chickpeas / bengal gram / chanadal
1 tbsp. skinned black gram / uraddal
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
1/4. tsp fenugreek seeds / methi seeds, 
6 - 8  or to taste, dried red chilies, 
2 tbsp. grated dry coconut 
3 - 4 black stone flower / dagad phool / rathi puvvu

* Soak barley for at least an hour and this step is optional if you are using a pressure cooker. 
* Add barley, lentils, vegetables, turmeric powder and about 2 cups of water to a pressure cooker and cook until done. If you cook rice for 3 whistles, then let this go for 12 - 15 whistles.
* Meanwhile, add split chickpeas and skinned black gram to a small pan and dry toast them on medium flame. Continuously stir them , until they start to change the color. Transfer them onto a plate. Next add coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chilis and stone flower to the same pan and dry toast them on low flame until coriander seeds start to change a shade darker. Add the coconut and turn off the stove. Transfer them on to the plate. Once cool, grind them finely. 
* When the cooker's valve pressure is gone, remove the container, and check the barley consistency. If you wish to cook it further, add the mixture to a pan. Add water as needed and cook further until the desired consistency is reached. Also if you prefer your veggies crunchier, you can cook them separately instead of adding them to the pressure cooker.
* Add salt, tamarind puree and the spice powder to the barley mixture. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Simmer the mixture for a couple of minutes more.
* Heat the ghee / oil in a pan. Toast the mustard seeds and curry leaves and add to the barley mixture.


Hari Chandana P said...

Interesting and healthy recipe.. looks really good suma.. awesome shots too .. thanks for sharing !!

Indian Cuisine

Chitra said...

Looks nice & new to me..

Unknown said...

That was a healthy and full meal looks yum suma.

SMN said...

thats a perfect bowl and a full meal too...luks so yumy

Priya Suresh said...

Simply delicious, wat a healthy and filling dish..

Sharmi said...

very new and nice recipe!

harini-jaya said...

Contrary to my belief that besi beli bath is always almost irrestible, it is not popular with my husband and so rarely gets into our menu :( Some people just don't have the taste, do they? Meanwhile I can drool over these pictures and maybe make some for myself during the weekdays:)


Suji said...

Simple, new and interesting :)

Aruna Manikandan said...

looks healthy and delicious dear :)

KrithisKitchen said...

Very healthy and tasty..


Sravs said...

Simply delicious and healthy !!!

Nammaruchi.blogspt.com said...

Very new to me...looks very delicious and healthy...

swapna said...

Healthy and yummy....lovely clicks!!

KrithisKitchen said...

Suma, badaga/Vengaya vadagam is a mix prepared with onions for tempering purposes...I haven't tried making this on my own till now, but my aunt/grandma make this back in India..
I googled and found this link, which may interest you..
I also found one in Savitha's kitchen

Shanavi said...

intersting, I've a big can of Barley left ..was breaking my head what to make out of it.. now i got it...yum

Unknown said...

I too love this kind of thing. I call it my barley khichdi :)

Unknown said...

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Unknown said...

looks tooo yumm!
healthy comfort food....too good!
nice post!
Smitha's Spicy Flavors

Preety said...

lovely click and so tempting too

Lifewithspices said...

very tempting n looks exactly like bisebelabath..

vaishali sabnani said...

I have never used barley in my cooking and now I am tempted to make this khichadi , looks super delicious.

Srivalli said...

Suma, this is very inviting, and especially with barley its worth trying it out..

Radha said...

Making khichdi/bisibele out of barley is excellent! I need to try it soon! The flavors of this dish is comforting for us!