One Pot Barley Meal


One of my favorite activities is reading. I just finished a brilliant book called, “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari. I knew Barley was one of the first domesticated grains in the world. But had no idea that it was also used as a currency in the ancient world. It certainly makes sense. Its a very hardy crop and the grain has a really long shelf life. Its also very healthy and can be used in many different ways. This is a simple recipe that is full of goodness and bursts with earthy flavors.

You Need:

  • One cup of Barley, washed and soaked in water for about 30 mins.
  • 250 grams of Mutton.
  • 3 Large onions sliced really thin.
  • Butter and Oil.
  • Spinach or Basella, chopped up.
  • A large Egg Plant, cut into small pieces.
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste.
  • A little cardamom, star anise and cloves.
  • 3 whole green chilies.
  • A teaspoon of turmeric.

Heat butter and oil in a pressure cooker. Saute the cardamom, star anise and cloves. Fry onions in this till they are reduced in volume by more than half and are almost golden. Season with salt. Add the green chilies, turmeric and ginger garlic paste. When the raw edge is gone add the meat. Saute till its all white and then add enough water to cover everything. Pressure cook on high for a whistle and then simmer for about 10-12 minutes.

Open cooker and add the barley, greens and egg plant. You may need to add some more water. Everything must be almost covered in water. Pressure cook for one whistle. Let the pressure fully subside before you open the cooker. You may need to stir and cook on high heat to get the right consistency. Leave it a little wet. As it cools the barley will absorb a lot of the water.

Enjoy a scrumptious one pot meal.



Plantain and Basella, Stir Fry


You Need:

  • 2 Plantains.
  • 300 Grams of Basella.
  • Cumin Seeds.
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric.
  • 1 teaspoon Red Chilly Powder.
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder.
  • 1 Tablespoon of Rice Flour.

Dissolve a little turmeric in water. Then boil the unpeeled plantains in this turmeric water for about 15 mins on medium heat. Remove the plantains and while they cool, get the same water to a boil. Dump the washed Basella leaves in the boiling water and switch off the heat. One minute later remove the leaves and wash with cool water so they stop cooking. Squeeze them dry.

Peel the plantains and chop them into small pieces. Chop the basella leaves and combine with the plantains. Add turmeric, red chilly powder, coriander powder and rice flour. Season with salt. Mix well. Heat some oil, preferably mustard or coconut. Saute the mixed vegetables in this oil on high heat.

Serve hot or cold. Goes well with both roti and rice.

Beets with Malabar Spinach

You need:

  • Three medium sized beets cut into one cm squares.
  • Malabar Spinach also called Basella, chopped up. You can also use regular Spinach.
  • A teaspoon of cumin and mustard seeds.
  • Two green chillies.

Heat oil. Preferably something with some flavor in it. I used sesame oil but you can also use coconut or mustard oil. Saute the cumin, mustard and green chilies. Add the beets and cook on low heat, covered. Five to ten minutes is enough to soften them up.

Now add the greens and cook on medium heat, uncovered. They will be done in less than five minutes.


Mushrooms and Basella


Mushrooms are like sponges. So clean them up and then drizzle olive oil and sprinkle chilly flakes on them.They will absorb the olive in about 10-15 mins.

Then place them head down on a hot pan. Let them sizzle for a couple of mins and turn them over when they are almost done. Move them to one side and add in basella leaves. Do not crowd the pan and instead make a pit in the center where the water can collect and not end up boiling the vegetables.

There is no need for salt but a little pepper is fine.

Enjoy a simple mineral rich dish.

Steamed Sea Bass with Cabbage and Basella

Sea bass is a beautiful white fish that cooks really fast. This means it is perfect for steaming. It also has a very mild flavor that works great with very little seasoning.

You need a deep dish with a lid for this recipe.

Heat some flavorful oil like mustard and fry some red chilies, mustard seeds, cumin and caraway seeds. Add basella leaves along with sliced cabbage.

Stir till they start to wilt. Place fish pieces and then bury it inside the leaves. Cover and cook for 10 mins on low heat.

Open and check. The fish would be most probably cooked by now. Move the fish to one side. Be careful because we don’t want to break it. Increase the heat and reduce the sauces collected at the base. The dish is almost ready. If you want it dry remove the fish and then continue cooking. Do not overcook this lovely fish.


Eggplant and Basella.

Get a large eggplant and chop it up. You can also use the smaller brinjals.
When buying the eggplant play special attention to its base. It will either be shaped like a line or a circle. You must buy the circle. These have way fewer seeds and are less bitter.

Wash and clean the Basella leaves.

Heat oil and drop in some dry red chilies, cumin, sesame seeds, fenugreek seeds, saunf, onion and curry leaves.

Once they have all softened add the eggplant.

You will need to cook them till they have softened completely.
To achieve the perfect softness you will need to cook them covered on low flame. But keep a close watch every few minutes so that they don’t get burnt at the base of the vessel.

Adding salt will help hasten this process.

Add the leaves and cook till they have also softened.

This is a fantastic meal by itself. You don’t need any accompaniments for this lovely eggplant dish.