Nutritious, light on the stomach and filling: the barley upma
Nutritious, light on the stomach and filling: the barley mid day snack. In India it would be called Barley Upma

It’s been a crazy two weeks. I’ve been attempting to pack all my belongings into cartons to move home. Though I’ve moved less than a kilometer away from where I stayed earlier on, the process has been cumbersome, fatiguing and has washed me out of every ounce of energy. So when we did move and I started cooking in the new kitchen, instead of the traditional sweetmeat that is supposed to be cooked, I made this super healthy Barley Upma! It brought back some spring to my steps.

Moving homes is quite an amazing feeling, there’s a bit of sadness to leave a known zone, a bit of eagerness to set up home all over again, a bit of anticipation towards what awaits you and the strange butterfly in your tummy feeling of seeing the entire house packed into cartons. Those of you who have moved often, will know the feeling.

Anyway so on this particular day when I’d just managed to set up kitchen or rather put things into cupboards to be rearranged later, I decided it was time to cook. The refrigerator needed replenishments as it was all cleaned out for the move. My only hope was some pulses and cereals. I pulled out the barley and decided to bring it and myself to life. Barley is a superb cereal. It’s GI is really low, which makes it perfect for those with diabetics, it cleans the kidneys and since it has very little flavour of its own, it takes on the flavours of the spices and veggies you add to it. On this particular day, I had to be happy with using onions, coriander and bell peppers.

Time taken: 1 hour 

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Soaking  time: 40 minutes to overnight 

Serves 4 

Skill level: Basic 

Equipment Needed: Skillet 


  • 400 grams of barley
  • 200 ml of hot water
  • 1 onions, chopped fine
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 4 tablespoons of crushed peanuts
  • 1 tablespoons each cumin seeds, mustard seeds and aniseed
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • 1/2 cup of chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and crushed pepper to taste


Barley pearls are excellent for cleaning out the kidneys
Barley pearls are excellent for cleaning out the kidneys.

1 Wash the barley pearls and soak them in the hot water for at least 40 minutes. If you have ample of time on your hand, then soak them in water at room temperature for 8 hours.

2. Throw the water out and move all the barley to a sieve. Let it drain out. This step is pretty important, or else you will send u with a soggy mess.

3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Once its hot add the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, aniseed, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once they start to crack add the chopped onions and fry till it is translucent or golden.

Crushed peanuts add a bite and flavour to the dish
Crushed peanuts add a bite and flavour to the dish

4. Now add the soaked barley and the crushed peanut. I’ve also added a green chilli slit lengthwise for some heat.

5. Cook till the barley is translucent.

6. Add the chopped coriander leaves and mix well.

7. Season with salt and crushed pepper.

8. Serve with a slice of lime. This needs to be eaten hot. You could serve it with a bowl of fresh Greek yoghurt.

This is perfect midday snack for diabetics too
This is perfect midday snack for diabetics too

Serve it with 

Peach and Chia Seed Smoothie

Power packed peach and banana smoothie
Power-packed peach and banana smoothie




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