7 Tastiest And Healthiest Indian Barley Dishes To Try
Image Credit: Indian Cuisine

Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is a common cereal grain farmed worldwide in temperate areas. One of the earliest cereals to be domesticated, it was brought to the Fertile Crescent in 9000 BC, where its non-shattering spikelets made it considerably simpler to harvest. 

By 2000 BC, its usage had expanded throughout Eurasia. Barley grows well in well-drained soil at relatively moderate temperatures. Compared to wheat or rye, it is less winter-hardy but is nevertheless very tolerant of drought and salinity in the soil.

With 155 million tonnes produced, barley ranked fourth among grains in 2022, after rice, wheat, and maize. Approximately 70% of barley produced worldwide is fed to animals, with the remaining 30% being used as a fermentable ingredient for beer, further distilled into whisky, or as a base for various cuisines. 

It is a staple in many different kinds of barley bread, soups, and stews. Malt is typically manufactured from barley grains using a time-honoured and conventional process. Now that one knows what barley is, discover various Indian dishes made of barley that are easy to cook. 

7 Indian Barley Dishes To Try

1. Barley Khichdi

Barley khichdi is a nourishing Indian dish with lentils, vegetables, and spices. One can minimise the use of oil and add vegetables such as carrots, peas, and spinach. For a time-saving hack, one can utilise a pressure cooker for expedited cooking. This wholesome meal provides essential nutrients. It has recently become a trendy choice for both lunch and dinner.

2. Barley Upma

Barley upma is a traditional South Indian breakfast. It can be substituted with barley for a richer, nuttier flavour and heartier texture. It's cooked with mustard seeds, onions, spices and curry leaves. The barley elevates its nutritional value along with nuts and grated carrots. This is a simple yet flavoursome dish. 

3. Barley Pulao

Barley pulao is a fragrant and wholesome dish where barley replaces rice as the main ingredient. It is cooked with onions, spices, and vegetables. One can use saffron or lemon juice before serving to make it more tasty. Also, using vegetable broth instead of water makes it tastier. This pulao serves as a delightful centrepiece for gatherings or as a comforting family meal.

4. Barley Soup

Barley soup is a hearty and comforting dish, perfect for cooler weather. The barley is simmered with vegetables, herbs, and spices. The soup is thick and satisfying. One can blend a portion of the soup in cornflour with hot water and mix it back in. This simple hack enhances the overall creaminess. One can enjoy it as a light lunch or a soothing dinner. This barley soup is very nutritious and delicious for those seeking comfort in a bowl.

5. Barley Salad

Barley salad is a refreshing salad. The cooked barley is added with vegetables, fresh herbs, and dressing. To suit taste preferences, one can customise the salad with favourite ingredients, such as olives, feta cheese, or grilled chicken. One can add various nuts to it, too. Pistachios, cashews, peanuts and many more. Fruits are also a good choice. 

6. Barley Porridge

Barley porridge is a healthy breakfast option. It is perfect for starting the day on a nutritious note. The barley is cooked until creamy, sweetened with honey or maple syrup of choice. Spices like cinnamon or cardamom. Topped with fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds, it is perfect for fasting, too. Whether hot or cold, barley porridge is delicious either way. 

7. Barley Kheer

Barley Kheer is a decadent dessert perfect for one's sweet tooth. The barley is cooked with milk, sugar, and spices until it becomes thick and creamy. It is similar to rice pudding. One can garnish it with nuts and dried fruits. You can customise the kheer to suit your taste preferences. Rose water or cardamom can be used too. Saffron bits are also very popular in the dishes.

Barley dishes are quite healthy. One can substitute many recipes with barley as a main ingredient for better taste. Dishes with barley will surely give one a healthy and nutritious balanced diet.