Barley Vegetable Khichdi

One of the things I decided on, when the year 2015 began, was to try out as many new (to me) foods and drinks as I could. Another decision was to learn how to cook with as many new (to me) ingredients as I could. Recently, when I spotted a packet of barley in a departmental store, the latter decision was what I had in mind. Curious and eager to try it out, I got it home.

I have never had barley before – except for lemon barley water, which tastes lovely – so I had no clue what to expect in terms of taste. I had no clue about how to cook it, either. The Internet came to the rescue. I found several recipes for barley-based dishes, many of them slow-cooked stews or soups that make for a one-pot meal. Most sounded promising, but I was in no mood to cook the barley for close to two hours, as they seemed to suggest. So, I decided to make a sort-of fast, one-pot barley khichdi, with little touches adapted from several Internet recipes. I decided to pressure cook the barley, to make the process faster, instead of letting it slow cook in a pan. Also, instead of the basil and oregano that many recipes suggested, I decided to use ajwain aka omam, fresh coriander and mint. The result was, I must say, quite good!

In taste, barley is quite similar to sago aka sabudana, albeit a tad more sticky on the tongue. Made into a khichdi, the bland barley becomes tasty.

Barley has a number of health benefits, and it is good to include them in your diet every once in a while. I know I am going to, henceforth.

Here is how I made the khichdi..

Ingredients (for 2 people):

About 100 grams of barley

3 green chillies, slit lengthwise

1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 medium-sized onion, peeled and chopped finely

1 small-sized capsicum, chopped finely

A handful of shelled green peas

1 small-sized carrot, peeled and chopped finely

2 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

Juice of ½ lemon

A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

A few fresh mint leaves

A pinch of asafoetida

1 teaspoon oil

Salt, to taste

Red chilli powder, to taste

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon ajwain (omam)


  1. Soak the barley for about half an hour in just enough water to cover it. Keep aside.
  2. Grind the garlic and ginger into a paste in a mixer. Add a little water if required.
  3. Heat the oil in a small pressure cooker. Add the mustard seeds, and allow them to splutter. Then, add the asafoetida and the ajwain. Ensure that the ajwain doesn’t get burnt, otherwise the dish might get bitter.
  4. Now, add the onions. Saute for a minute or two, till the onions begin to turn brownish.
  5. Add the ginger-garlic paste. Saute for a minute or two.
  6. Add the finely chopped carrot, capsicum and green peas. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Drain off all the excess water from the barley, and add it to the vegetables in the pressure cooker.
  8. Add salt, slit green chillies, red chilli powder, and turmeric powder. Mix well.
  9. Add just enough water to cover the barley and vegetables, along with the chopped tomatoes. Mix well. Let it cook on a high flame for about 2 minutes.
  10. Now, add the chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice. Shred the mint leaves with your hands and add them to the pressure cooker. Mix well.
  11. Close the pressure cooker and put on the whistle. On a high flame, let it cook for 4 whistles.
  12. Once the steam has released entirely, open the pressure cooker. Serve hot.

Do you use barley at home? How do you cook it? Tell me! I’d love to know!


12 thoughts on “Barley Vegetable Khichdi

    1. @Aarthy1823

      Yes!! If you have a sling already, why aren’t you using it?! Babywearing is great, I think, for today’s parents, who want to be everywhere and do it all. 🙂

      Here’s hoping you get to go to Pabrais soon with your hubby and kid, and have loads of fun! 🙂


  1. Sounds good. Should try it out sometime!
    TGND, I would love to read a post on how you manage to post so frequently and manage to keep the balance between the demanding life of a mom to an under 1 yr baby and doing all the other stuff you want to.


    1. @Aarthy1823

      Do let me know how it turned out, if at all you decide to try it out. 🙂

      I am not at all the right person to do that kind of post re. In reality, I don’t have any kind of balance. There are a lot of things in my life which are in a mess. Whenever I get some time or mental space, I try to do the things that I love. I was a person of my own before I became a mother, and I still try to become that person every now and then. I don’t have a cut-and-dried formula for balance – in fact, I think I solely lack balance in life. Now, this is a classic case of social media projecting a very different picture from reality. Totally unintended, though. 🙂


      1. Am on the same boat TGND. I sometimes miss and yearn for the freedom I had before becoming a mom. Yes, motherhood is a lovely journey but a very demanding one.
        I do know there is no formula but was awed by your reading, cooking and blogging regularity. So I thought I could take some pointers. All I manage to do is reading while my baby sleeps!


      2. @Aarthy1823

        Reading while the baby sleeps – that is just what I do too. No wonder I haven’t posted a book review in months! 🙂

        I have my parents living nearby, so that helps when I want to cook something that demands a lot of my attention. I leave her over with them for a while till I finish my job in the kitchen, or Ma and Pa watch over her while I cook.

        Whenever we go out, we take her with us, because she doesn’t stay in the house usually when we are not around. We use a baby carrier in that case.

        Hope this helps! 🙂


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