Curd rice is a very popular dish in Tamil Nadu. My school lunch used to be mainly curd rice as it keeps fresh with a little milk mixed with it while packing in the morning. In the hot weather, milk ferments to the right consistency by lunch time and this creamy dish would taste delicious. With a vegetable accompaniment and pickle, my lunch box would be empty in no time. Ah, this is taking me back to my school days! I make curd rice frequently and tried it with barley this time.
Barley is highly acclaimed as the healthiest grain for good reasons. It is a protein and fiber-rich grain. It is not a surprise to know that malted drinks are made from barley. So getting the benefits directly without much processing is the best way to go. Isn’t it encouraging enough to know beer is made from barley, making it the dearest grain.
I bought a big bag of pearl barley and had to use it in larger quantities to make the most of it. I served it to my family cooking it like rice and adding curd/yogurt to make it familiar yet different. It was sticky and gooey blending well with curd to make it delicious. So I thought of sharing it with you!
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 3 cups water
- 2 cup curd/unflavored yogurt
- salt to taste
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp urad dhal/split black gram dhal
- 1 tbsp kadala paruppu/channa dhal/split chick peas
- a small piece ginger chopped
- 2 green chillies
- few curry leaves
- few coriander leaves
- few cashew nuts
- 2 tbsp ghee
- garnish with pitted cherries
- Pressure cook barley adding water until it is cooked. (I used pearl barley and other types may have different cooking time. I waited for 8 whistles as I wanted it a bit mushy for this dish. It can be cooked in a slow cooker or on stove top to get the soft or crunchy stage you prefer.)
- Wait for the pressure to release steam slowly and cool it.
- Take yogurt in a large container and gently whisk it to break lumps. (I used homemade yogurt which has a bit of whey water and it blends well. If the yogurt is thicker, dilute it with water.)
- Add cooled barley with the starchy water into yogurt, add salt and mix well. (If there is more water drain it and use it in soups.)
- Tempering: Chop ginger to tiny pieces and cut chillies at an angle.
- Heat a pan with ghee (clarified butter) and fry cashew nut on low heat.
- Remove browned nuts and sprinkle them on barley in curd.
- Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds to hot ghee so it starts spluttering immediately.
- Next, add urad and channa dhal to the pan and fry them on low heat.
- When they are golden brown add washed and dried curry leaves, ginger, chillies and fry them.
- Lastly, add chopped coriander leaves and pour the contents of the pan over barley in curd and mix well.
- Serve it after it is cooled in the refrigerator for 2 hours or more.
This is a lovely lunch dish with stir fried potatoes or other mixed vegetables or can be used as a side with meat. I crave this kind of preparations on hot days. It is convenient to make it the previous night and serve it chilled. Tempering adds more goodness to this already nutritious dish.