September 23, 2016

Meditteranean Barley Pilaf

There are some recipes that you adapt from a friend, from a cookbook or from the web, and your family loves it so much that you keep making it again and again. You add your touches to it and at some point you start owning the recipe. This pilaf is one such recipe, which I had made a few years back for a   Meditterarean themed lunch. This can be made with farro as well, though barley has a better taste and texture. The use of fennel complements the spices and mint sauce well, but if you are not sure about fennel, you can omit and just use onion alone. This can be served as a full meal which is full of flavor and is made with wholesome ingredients. This is best served warm or at room temperature and hence is very ideal to take to pot-luck parties. 

Ingredients:
  • Barley - 1 cup (soaked overnight)
  • Black chickpea - 1/2 cup (soaked overnight)
  • Bay leaf - 1
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp (crushed)
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Masala powder - 1-2 Tbs (see below for proportion)
  • Red onion - 1
  • Fennel - 1 bulb
  • EV olive oil - 1 Tbs
  • Mint sauce - 1 batch (see recipe below)

Directions:
  • Drain the chickpeas and cook with 1 cup of water, bay leaf, crushed pepper and salt. (I use a pressure cooker, which works best to cook any beans)
  • Drain the barley and cook with the cooking liquid from chickpeas (add extra water as needed to cook) and a tablespoon of masala powder. (I use pressure cooker here too)
  • Heat a pan on medium heat, add olive oil and saute chopped red onion and chopped fennel till onion in slightly golden.
  • Add cooked chickpeas and barley and any remaining liquid from cooking barley. Adjust taste add extra salt as needed and more masala if you prefer. Continue cooking till any remaining liquid is completely absorbed. 
  • Switch off, add the mint sauce and mix well. Let it stand for 30 minutes or so before serving. 
  • Serve warm, enjoy!!

Masala Powder:
  • Coriander seeds - 2 Tbs
  • Red chilly - 1-2
  • Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
  • Cardamom - 2-3
  • Grind everything to a fine powder using a coffee/spice grinder

Mint Sauce:
  • Mint - a small bunch 
  • Cilantro - few stems 
  • Garlic Clove 1-2
  • Lemon juice - from  half a lemon
  • EV olive oil - 2 Tbs
  • Grind everything to a coarse sauce.