Pearl Barley Khichri

This recipe is a variation of Khichri, an Indian rice-and-lentil dish. Here barley is used instead of rice and it imparts a lovely chewy texture. An assortment of vegetables adds colour and extra flavour and makes this a substantial one-dish meal.


¾ cup/170g pearl barley
¾ cup/180g mung dal
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3-5 dried red chilli peppers, halved
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
10 -12 French beans, stringed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into ½-inch/1-cm cubes
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch/1-cm cubes
Salt to taste
Finely chopped coriander leaves to garnish

1. Wash the barley and mung dal and soak in water for 1 hour. Drain and discard the soaking liquid.

2. Heat the oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant.

3. Add the cumin seeds and red chilli peppers and stir until they turn a shade darker in colour.

4. Add the turmeric and tomato and mix.

5. When the tomato is tender, add the barley and mung dal with 4½ cups/1L125ml water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the barley and mung dal are half done, about 15 minutes.

6. Add the beans, carrot, potatoes and the salt. Cook for a further 15 minutes or until the vegetables, barley and lentils are cooked, stirring occasionally.

7. Remove the khichri from the heat. Let it be a little runny as it will thicken further on cooling.

8. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.


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