Wheat Berry Pilaf with red bell pepper, onion, peas. vegan recipe

VeganRicha - Vegan Wheat berry PilafI met Susmitha I think around Vegan Mofo last year :)  or maybe earlier. Come to think of it, I met so many wonderful bloggers in that one whirlwind month. 

I was instantly attracted to her super cute hand made monsters, beautiful jewellery and amazing and simple food creations!
When Sus asked me to do a guest post in the middle of Summer. I knew I was not going to find time till later. So here I am when the weather is cooling down, and in another few days I will be going crazy trying to blog every day of the month!
For the guest post, I was initially thinking of making some cookies. But Sus has been baking up super fun cookies already lately. So I decided on a delicious whole grain pilaf.
This pilaf can be made with any whole grains to make it glutenfree. Half the nutrients are lost from the nutritious grain when milled/ground. 50g serving of hard red wheat berries, or about 1/4 cup uncooked, provides 163.5 calories, 1g of fat, 6.5g of protein, 35.5g of carbohydrates, 6g of dietary fiber and 1mg of sodium. Wheat berries are rich in vitamins B1 and B3; and the minerals magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese and selenium.

Whole grains are easily available in India, or atleast thats what I remember from 10 years back :) So many varieties of wheat, millet, sorghum, barley and more. When my Mom asked me a few weeks back for recipes to add more Oats to her daily diet, and the lack of availability if quinoa there, I suggested to use the available grains there. She has loads of wheat and millet at home sitting to be milled into flour, and she was surprised when I told her to try pilafs kind of preparation with them:) Mom, here are some pictures for you. I will ask Dad, next week if he got to eat something new :) (Usually Dad doesnt remember the names of the new dishes, everything is food;). But he will mention that Mom made something different the other day, and it was like this or that and from the description I will know what Mom tried ;). Mom and Dad are working on finding a common Milk substitute in Chai they both like, and currently liking Cashew milk in most of their teas! 

Super Yay for my Ma n Pa! I cant wait for the day when Mom is seen carrying containers of cashew cream to add to her tea while visiting family or restaurants in Nagpur :)
I used few veggies in the pilaf to let the wheat berry stand out. For variations: Add mushrooms, greens, eggplants, chunky vegetables, nuts, biryani /pulav masala of choice, dried fruit(raisin/cranberries). or make a simple one with vegetable broth, mushrooms and parsley.
For some of my Whole grain/Rice preparations see here and veganized Indian sweets see here.
Susmitha is also blogging along for Vegan Mofo 2012!. You can catch a sneak peak of whats to come on her blog here
Whole wheat berry pilaf Recipe

Vegan, soy, corn, nut free 
Cook Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour, Serves 2
1/2 cup dry wheat berries (Gejun grain)
3/4 cup water for pressure cooker, (1.5 cups for saucepan)
extra water for soaking
1 teaspoon organic canola or virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 green chili chopped
4-5 garlic cloves chopped
1/4 medium onion chopped
1/4 red bell pepper chopped
1/4 cup green peas
1 teaspoon coriander powder or biryani/pulav masala blend
chopped cilantro for garnish
Rinse the berries well and soak overnight in 2 cups water.
In a pressure cooker or pan, add oil.
Heat on medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them crackle.
Add chili and onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until golden.
Add red bell pepper and peas and cook for a minute.
Add in the rinsed wheat berries, salt and cook on medium for 2 whistles in the pressure cooker, and then on low heat for 15-20 minutes (2-3 more whistles).
If cooking in saucepan, add the rinsed berries, 1.5 cups of water, cover and cook on low until berries are tender. Serve hot.
The water content and cook time depends on the wheat berries(hard or soft), add more water and cook longer if not tender at the suggested time. I use soft white or red wheat berries here.
You can also cook the wheat berries separately like pasta and keep ready. Cook with water and salt until tender.
Serve hot topped with cilantro and lemon juice/wedge.


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  1. says

    I haven’t had wheat berries for a long time but I remember tier wonderful chewy texture — perfect for a salad like this one. The peas really add a pop of color!

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