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Spiced Indian Barley Stir-Fry with Chickpeas and Spinach

Serves 6 to 8.


    Spiced Indian Barley Stir-Fry with Chickpeas and Spinach

    Indian-spiced flavours paired with any grain create a taste sensation. Folded into cooked barley, it’s a double win. The turmeric and mustard seeds coupled with barley are touted as excellent foods for brain health.



    • Allergic to barley? Substitute with rice or another gluten-free grain such as millet or sorghum.
    • Time crunch? Cook barley ahead and refrigerate or freeze. Bring to room temperature and stir-fry a little bit longer to make sure it’s sizzling hot.


    Spiced Indian Barley Stir-Fry with Chickpeas and Spinach


    • 1 cup (250 mL) pearl barley
    • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) coconut oil, plus extra, if needed
    • 2 tsp (10 mL) cumin seeds
    • 2 tsp (10 mL) yellow mustard seeds
    • 1 sweet onion, diced
    • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) finely minced fresh peeled ginger root
    • 4 tsp (20 mL) turmeric
    • 4 tsp (20 mL) ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt
    • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
    • 1/4 cup (60 mL) vegetable stock or water
    • 14 oz (398 mL) can chickpeas, drained
    • 4 cups (1 L) baby spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
    • Juice from 1 lime
    • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped cilantro
    • 1/4 cup (60 mL) raw sliced almonds, toasted
    • Pinches of crushed chilies (optional)


    Per serving:

    • calories226
    • protein9g
    • fat (2 g sat. fat6g
    • trans fat)0g
    • carbohydrates38g
      • sugar4g
      • fibre8g
    • sodium97g



    In large bowl filled with cold water, soak barley for 1 hour. Once barley has soaked, drain. In medium saucepan, combine barley and 3 cups (750 mL) lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and with lid ajar, cook until barley is tender but still chewy, about 25 to 30 minutes. It will have tripled in volume. Drain off any excess liquid.


    Once barley is tender, heat oil in large wok and swirl to coat the sides. Add cumin and mustard seeds and stir-fry just until seeds begin to pop. Add onion, ginger, and seasonings, and stir-fry just until onion starts to become clear and soft. Add stock or water to loosen onion mixture from wok.


    Add cooked barley and stir-fry for 2 minutes, folding ingredients together to evenly distribute. Add a little more coconut oil if itu2019s beginning to stick to wok.


    Fold in chickpeas and stir-fry until piping hot. Then add spinach and fold in just until barely wilted.


    Immediately serve Spiced Indian Barley in small bowls or transfer to large platter. Drizzle with lime juice and sprinkle with chopped cilantro and toasted almonds. Serve with a pinch of crushed chilies, if you wish. Excellent with crisp pappadums for scooping and dollops of plain yogurt.


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    This recipe is part of the A Feast in Yellow collection.



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