Barley kheer is a dessert similar to the more traditional wheat kheer that is more common during the festive season of Navratri.
‘Navrati’ means nine nights. Navrati is an Indian festival where nine different forms of Goddess are celebrated. The forms of shakti (strength) worshipped during this festival include Durga, Bhadrakali, Amba, Annapoorna Devi, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika, Lalita, Bhavani and Mookambika, respectively. Navrati is a festival of 9 days. And for all those 9 days my house is filled with mouthwatering aroma of special menus made for this celebration.
Wheat kheer is very popular in the State of Maharashtra during the navratri festival. For this dish the wheat that is used is Emmer wheat. This particular wheat is especially used for this kheer due to it’s taste, texture and qualities. After coming to US I missed this kheer a lot. Due to unavailability of this wheat in smaller quantity I have not been able to have this particular kheer. And so I came up with an Idea of Barley kheer. Having worked with pearl barley in the past I felt that it might make a good substitute to Emmer wheat. And so I experimented with pearl barley. And I must say I was very pleased with the outcome. It is a beautiful dessert which leaves you wanting more.
About Barley Kheer
While making this kheer I have followed the traditional Maharashtrian recipe. This kheer is different from other kheer recipes as it is cooked in water and not in milk. The reason being, for sweetness jaggery is used and not sugar. And milk tends to get spoiled when it is hot and jaggery is added. Milk is added at the end in the bowl when served with a dollop of ghee on top. As the milk will be an add-on the kheer is made little stronger in taste and flavors so that it balances out when milk and ghee is added.
Barley is a very healthy grain and rich in many beneficial nutrients. It is full of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial plant compounds. Barley is known to Reduce Hunger and May Help You Lose Weight. Due to its high fiber content it is good for digestion. It is good to reduce cholesterol level and the chances of heart diseases. Barley is also good for lowering blood sugar levels and improving insulin secretion. It is believed making barley a regular ingredient in your diet may offer protection from several chronic diseases.
So, this Navratri try out this recipe and let me know if this was tummy to heart moment ….
¾ cup Pearl Barley
1 ½ tbsp poppy seeds
2 tsp Cardamom powder
¾ cup Jaggery or as per taste
1 ¾ tsp Nutmeg powder
¾ grated Fresh coconut
½ tsp salt or as per taste
¾ tsp ginger powder
70g coarsely chopped cashews
Saffron & Almonds flakes for garnishing
- First dry roast poppy seeds till they change color slightly.
Note : poppy seeds tend to burn fast so roast at medium flame and stir continuously.
- Once poppy seeds are roasted remove them in a mortar and lightly crush with pastel. Then keep it aside for further use.
Note : do not powder poppy seeds.
- Next in a bowl add barley and water and soak it for minimum 3 hours.
- 3 hours later strain it and put all the barley in a mortar and crush it enough to break the grains and soften it slightly.
Note : do not powder them or over crush them.
- Later add water and soak for minimum 4-5 hours.
- Next add the soaked barley (along with the water used for soaking) and pour around 2 more cups water.
- Then pressure cook for 20 minutes in instant pot or upto 3-4 whistles if using traditional pressure cooker.
- Later remove the lid of instant pot change setting to sauté and add 2 cups water to the cooked barley.
- Next add crushed poppy seeds, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, jaggery, salt, cashews, coconut and ginger powder.
- Cook till all the ingredients are blended and kheer has become thick.
Note : this kheer will become quite thick, but that’s ok … when you add milk while serving the consistency will become perfect.
- Your Barley kheer is ready to be served. You can have this dessert warm or chill. It tastes amazing either way.