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Wooden bowl with Barley Pulihora

Barley Pulihora

Whole grain twist to traditional Souuth Indian rice dish. Lemon pulihora made with barley instead of rice. It's hearty, chewy, nutritious and delicious.
Author: Pavani
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Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: south indian
Servings: 4 serving


  • 1 cup Pearl Barley
  • 2 cups Water
  • ½ teaspoon Turmeric
  • To taste Salt
  • 3 tablespoons Canola or Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Chana dal
  • 1 tablespoon Urad dal
  • 2 tablespoons Raw Peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon Raw Cashews, chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons Mustard Seeds
  • 3~4 Dry Red Chilies, broken
  • ¼ tsp Asafetida/ Hing
  • 1" Ginger piece, finely grated
  • 2~3 Green Chilies, chopped
  • 8 ~ 10 Curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon juice, plus more if needed


Cook Barley - Instant Pot:

  • Combine barley with water, pinch of turmeric and salt in the inner pot. Cook for 20 minutes on Manual/ High Pressure/ Pressure cook mode.
  • Once the timer beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Then quick release the remainder. Open the lid and gently fluff the grains. Remove into a wide bowl and let cool.

Stove Top Method:

  • Combine barley, pinch of turmeric, salt and 2½ cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer till barley is tender, about 30~40 minutes. Remove into a wide bowl and let cool.

Make Tempering:

  • Heat oil in a pan, add the chana & urad dals, peanuts, cashews (if using), mustard seeds, dry red chili and cook till the lentils are golden and seeds pop.
  • Stir in grated ginger, green chilies, curry leaves and cook till fragrant, about 1~2 minutes.


  • Add the tempering to the cooked barley. Add salt and fresh lemon juice. Mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding salt and lemon juice, as needed.
  • Serve right away or at room temperature.


  • If you are using hulled barley, then it needs to be cooked longer.
    • In the Instant Pot, cook for 25 minutes on high pressure and use 3 cups of water.
    • If cooking on the stove top, cook for 40~45 minutes or until tender.
  • Cook barley 2 days in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Store leftover barley pulihora for up to 2 days in the fridge.
  • Cooked barley can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • You can use tamarind instead of lemon juice in this recipe. Follow the instructions in the tamarind rice recipe but use cooked barley instead of rice.
  • Add other nuts like almonds, pecans, walnuts etc. along with peanuts and cashews.
  • To make this nut free, omit the nuts and substitute with cooked beans for added protein.


Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 888mg | Potassium: 243mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 435IU | Vitamin C: 124mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg
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