Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Curried Wheat Berry Salad

This salad seems sort of like a wheat berry twist to Indian (rice) Biryani. It's easier to prepare and keeps for a few days for a healthy snack or lunch on the run.  I also like to make a large batch so when a friend drops by I give them a tasting as we chat. At this moment the wheat berry is my favorite of all the grains who made a comeback. This particular recipe reminds me of Indian fare but also North African wheat berry Hamin and Eastern European Cholent dishes, cooked on low heat oven, overnight, with chuck meat, beans or chickpeas and eggs in their shells. 
Where Hamin and Cholent are heavy meals this salad is light and a modern twist on all three cultures traditions. It ties all three continents beautifully! Prominent in Middle Eastern cooking the wheat berry has a red tint, is almost the most pure form of the berry (minimal processing) minus the husk. You can purchase it in health stores, Whole Foods and occasionally in your neighborhood grocery store. High in fiber!

Ingredients:
2 cups wheat berries
2 medium onions, diced
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cups raisins
2 Granny Smith apples (see directions)
Juice from 1/2 large or 1 small lemon
2 teaspoon plus curry powder
2 heaping tablespoons of honey
Handful parsley, finely chopped
Handful edamame, peeled and slivered (optional)
Salt
Black pepper

Directions:
1. In a pot cover wheat Berries in water and bring to a boil.  Once boiling point is reached immediately turn down to low simmer. Cook on low simmer for about 1 hour or until done. Add water as necessary throughout the cooking process.  Drain and let cool.
2. Peel, core and dice apples. Immediately add lemon juice to apples to avoid oxidizing.
3. In a large frying pan add canola and diced onions, salt and pepper. Let onions soften and become translucent on low to medium heat.  You do not wish for the onions to caramelize.  Once onions are softened add cubed apples, raisins, honey and continue sauteing until apples are soft but not mushy and raisins are plump.
4. Add step 3 immediately after taking off the heat in step 1. Gently fold and mix together in a large bowl.
5. You can add the curry powder as is or as I did, toast to bring the aromas and smoky flavors out, I dry heated (no oil) it in a small pan, on low/medium heat, stir frequently until you start smelling the spices. Add to wheat berry mixture.
6. Add finely chopped parsley and adjust for salt and pepper.
7. I have not added the slivered edamame but you can it's a substitute for the almonds in my mom's original Biryani recipe which inspired this salad. It adds crunch, color and dimension to the salad.
*Serving suggestions: You can serve this salad on its own (third photo) or fancy it up for yourself or your guests with Baby Boo (fourth and fifth photo) see here.
This salad will keep for few days. Enjoy!!

8 comments :

  1. Looks yummy. What is wheatberry like? The look of it reminds me of Israeli couscous meets quinoa?

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  2. Thanks!! I can see the resemblance although it has a character all on it's own. Texture is chewy in the very best sense of the word. Came out so good I am going for seconds! Try it and let me know..

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  3. Ooh, Shulie, this looks great! I may try this soon (as it seems to be the perfect hot weather dish), just without the raisins. Yum.

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  4. Hey Angela, Thanks. Truly can't get enought of this salad. So good!! S has a thing about raisins too. You can substitute currants for the raisins, but do not saute them, just add directly. They are a good replacement but take on a different character when 'handled':).

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  5. I love this recipe, it must be very good and very original presentation, I will try to do :-) Greetings from Madrid, Spain

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  6. Thank you so much Ana. So nice to hear from Madrid, Spain. The salad is healthy and delicious and keeps for few days. Enjoy!

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  7. Great recipe, I have a bag of wheat berries and I don't feel like slow cooking. This looks perfect. Is this a traditional Indian recipe or something that you came up with?

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  8. Thx Sarah. Something I came up with.Indian inspired! :)

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