I never got on the quinoa bandwagon. That is probably apparent to anyone who reads this blog regularly. I find it bitter, and even when rinsed enough to get rid of the bitterness, I then find it difficult to cook exactly the way I want it (not soggy or super soft). But this is not meant as a diatribe against quinoa, but rather to say if quinoa is your thing, I bet it would be fantastic in this dish. I just could not think of a graceful way to name the dish “Any Whole Grain You Want” and Corn Bowl….
I love (semi-pearled) farro. I love its chewiness, and I love how easy it is to cook using the pasta method. I have never had it turn mushy or soft. And it works with anything. I have used it with Spanish flavors, wild mushrooms and steak, Asian, and other flavor combinations. Basically farro can be used anywhere you would use any other grain. I prefer semi-pearled because it is much faster to cook.
Once you have the grain, the protein and veggies are up to you. I wanted something with cauliflower roasted with chaat masala, because we adore that around here. So everything was built from there. Chickpeas are probably the more natural legume to think of (and easier if you want to use canned), but I decided to cook some dried Christmas Lima beans. From there caramelized onions were also a natural. Now, I adore this dish with chaat masala, but if you do not have any and do not want to make any, do not fear. I bet this would be really good with garam masala also–but if you go that route be prepared to add a little extra salt.
I couldn’t decide between the picture with the green glass and the one with the red glass–what do you think?
- 1 lb dried Christmas Lima beans or other dried bean
- 1 med onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 t turmeric
- 1/4 t paprika
- 2 sticks cinnamon, toasted
- 4 whole cloves, toasted
- 4 whole black peppercorns, toasted
- 1 T ghee
- 1 t salt
- liquid from beans
- 3 cups farro
- kernels from 4 cobs of corn
- 2 heads cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 T vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 t chaat masala
- 2 T ghee
- 1 T vegetable oil
- 4 medium-large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 sweet bell peppers, chopped
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T ground cumin
- 2 T ground coriander
- 1/4 t turmeric
- cooked beans from above
- juice of half lemon
- 1 t sugar
- 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- lemon wedges
- chaat masala for sprinkling
- tamarind chutney
- chile pepper flakes
The beans can be cooked the day of, starting earlier in the day, or the day before. Place them in a pot with the onion, garlic, turmeric, paprika, toasted whole spices, and ghee. Bring to a boil and then transfer, covered, to a slow cooker or a 300 F oven.
Cook until mostly tender (3 hours on high for me) and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Return to heat and cook another hour or until completely tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid into a separate pot.
Preheat the oven to 450 F for the cauliflower. Toss the cauliflower with a tablespoon of vegetable oil and the chaat masala. Spread over 2 cookie sheets and roast for 20 minutes or so, until browned and fragrant. Continue with the other preparations while they are roasting.
Add the farro to the drained bean liquid along with enough water to cover by 3-4 inches. Bring to a boil. Let cook for 10-15 minutes, until almost cooked through and add the corn kernels. Cook for another 5 minutes, until the corn and farro both are cooked through. Drain and set aside.
Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat with the ghee and vegetable oil. When it is shimmering, add the sliced onions with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until caramelized.
Add the sweet bell pepper and cook another 5 minutes (add a splash of water also if it looks like it will stick). Then add the garlic and ground cumin, turmeric and coriander. Toss to keep the spices from burning and cook until fragrant, about 60 seconds. Mix in the juice of half a lemon and one teaspoon sugar.
Add the drained cooked beans to the cooked onions, fishing out the whole spices if desired.
Toss in the chopped cilantro and remove from the heat.
Place a spoonful of the farro/corn mixture in the bottom of a bowl. Then add cauliflower, followed by the onion-bean mixture, and sprinkle with some chaat masala (be sure to sprinkle the chaat masala on the hot ingredients). Top with cherry tomato halves. Serve with lemon wedges, chile pepper flakes and tamarind chutney on the side.