Traditionally made with wheat berries, Egyptian wheat porridge, also known as bileela in Arabic, is a comforting, sweet, warm breakfast. It is a great, filling breakfast on cold, autumn or winter mornings. This recipe uses farro instead of wheat berries and is made using the Instant Pot.
I generally don’t like oatmeal and prefer my porridge to have a bit of texture. If you’re like me and prefer something to chew instead of mushy oatmeal, then you might like this porridge. Traditionally, Egyptian wheat porridge is made with whole wheat berries. But since those are hard to find in Canada, I tried making it with farro, which turned out to be a good substitute. You can also use pearl barley if you wish.
Whole wheat and other whole grains aren’t bad for you unless you have celiac disease or a severe sensitivity to gluten. Otherwise, there are lots of benefits to eating whole grains in moderation. In fact, unlike what the proponents of the so-called Paleo diet assert, grains have been a part of the human diet since long before the advent of agriculture. In fact, humans have always had a very diverse diet that includes grains, plants, fruits, meat including bone marrow and organs, game meat and insects. Anyway, I’m not a doctor or evolutionary scientist; if you’d like to know more about this subject, follow the links above and read more.
Anyway, back to this recipe. As I mentioned above, you can use either farro or pearl barley if you can’t find whole wheat berries. If you own a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, that can cut down on the time considerably. Normally this dish requires milk, but if you can’t eat dairy, you can use a milk substitute.
- One cup whole farro or wheat berries or pearl barley.
- One and a half cups water
- One and a half cups milk
- A tiny pinch of salt
- Sweetener of choice to taste (you can use any sweetener you like such as sugar, stevia, maple syrup or honey)
- Natural flavourings such as vanilla, cardamom or cinnamon. I used all three in addition to a pinch of saffron threads.
- To serve: additional cream and raisins (optional)
- Place all the ingredients in your Instant Pot
- Cook on the “Porridge” setting on high pressure for 15 minutes.
- Allow it to depressurise naturally for about 10 minutes, then release the rest of the pressure.
- On the stovetop: place the ingredients in a medium sized saucepan and cook on medium low heat for about one hour or until the grains have opened up and are cooked through and softened.
- Serve hot with some extra cream if you like and dried fruits such as raisins.
Do you have a favourite porridge recipe? How do you like to make it? Let me know in the comments!
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