This delicious, hearty wheatberry vegetable stew came to be simply because my kitchen was running a bit dry and I needed to come up with something. So I looked through the cupboards and saw a half bag of wheatberries. Then I thought I'd like to have it with tomatoes and other vegetables, but what spices? I craved something both spicy, hearty and with a little sweetness to it, so I quickly threw together the basic ingredients for the first version of channa masala I had learnt. Minus the garam masala. And the channa (chickpeas) :-)}}}
2 cups wheatberries
6 cups water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, minced
4 carrots, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 tsp tomato paste
2 cups canned, diced tomatoes, with juice
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp cayenne, chili powder, or 2-4 fresh chilies (more or less depending upon how hot you like it)
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tblsp lemon juice
4 bay leaves
1 scant tsp marmite (black garlic would be lovely as well)
1) In a pot, bring 6 cups water to boil, then add a little salt and 2 cups of wheatberries (both soft and hard wheatberries work, but we liked the hard variety better). Lower heat and simmer for half hour.
2) While that is simmering, put olive oil in a pan and, on medium heat, add onion, garlic, ginger, carrots, celery, and turmeric. Sautee for a few minutes, just until onion becomes translucent, stirring frequently.
3) Add all the other spices, stirring them in well, followed by the lemon juice.
4) Remove from heat until the half hour is up for the wheatberries, then add them straight in with the wheatberries.
5) Take a ladle full of liquid out to dissolve the marmite into, then return to pot.
6) Add diced tomatoes and juice, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for another 30 minutes.
Serve over rice or straight with a slice of whole wheat bread on the side. Delicious! I made it two days in a row due to popular demand (can two people's demands be called that?). Our taste buds demanded a second batch, and they are legion...