Dalia is a tasty cereal dish that’s made from cracked wheat, which is high in protein, fiber, and iron. Cracked wheat dishes are popular in India, where they’re eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are many ways you can prepare this dish, and vegetable dalia and sweet dalia are among the most popular. Preparing dalia is quite simple and very similar to making rice, and you can customize the dish with all your favorite spices, fruits, and vegetables.
- ½ cup (60 g) cracked wheat
- 1 tablespoon (14 g) ghee
- ½ teaspoon (4.5 g) cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon (1.5 g) grated ginger
- 1 green chilly, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small tomato, diced
- ¼ teaspoon (0.75 g) turmeric powder
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 small potato, diced
- ¼ cup (38 g) green peas
- 2 cups (470 ml) water
- Salt, to taste
Makes 2 servings
- 1 teaspoon (4.5 g) ghee
- ¼ cup (30 g) cracked wheat
- 1 cup (235 ml) water
- 1 cup (235 ml) milk
- 1 green cardamom, crushed
- 1 tablespoon (14 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon (9 g) raisins
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) walnuts, chopped
Makes 2 servings
EditMaking Vegetable Dalia
- Soak the cracked wheat. Measure the cracked wheat into a small bowl and cover it with water. Set the wheat aside to soak for about 30 minutes. After soaking, transfer the cracked wheat to a fine-mesh sieve and rinse it with fresh water. Set the wheat aside to continue draining.
- Soaking the wheat will help to soften it, and reduce the cooking time.
- Fry the cumin. Transfer the ghee to a pressure cooker and heat it over medium heat. When the ghee is liquid and hot, add the cumin seeds. Cook the cumin in the ghee for one to two minutes, until it’s fragrant and crackling.
- Other aromatics you can toast with the cumin include chili powder, mustard, and curry leaves.
- Ghee is clarified butter. You can use regular butter or your favorite cooking oil in place of the ghee.
- Add the ginger, onion, and chili. Continue cooking the mixture over medium heat until the onions are slightly soft and the ginger is fragrant. Stir regularly to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- For a less spicy dish, omit the chili, or replace it with a milder pepper.
- Add the turmeric, tomatoes, and the remaining vegetables. Add the turmeric and tomatoes first, and cook them together with the aromatics for a minute. Then add the carrot, potato, and peas and cook the dish for an additional minute.
- You can add any vegetables you like to this dish, including chopped cauliflower, peppers, beans, and broccoli.
- Toast the wheat. Add the drained cracked wheat to the pressure cooker. Stir constantly and sauté the wheat with the aromatics and vegetables for three to four minutes, until it’s warm and fragrant.
- Toasting the wheat will help to bring out more of its aroma, and infuse it with flavors from the other ingredients.
- Cook the dalia in the water. Add the salt and water to the pressure cooker and stir the mixture. Secure the pressure cooker lid. Bring the pot to pressure over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the dalia until soft, about 12 minutes, or 7 to 9 whistles on the pressure cooker.
- If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can use a regular saucepan and cook the dalia on the stove. Cook the dalia for about 25 minutes, covered, until the water is absorbed and the wheat is soft.
- Let the pressure cooker rest. When the dalia is ready, remove the pressure cooker from the heat and let the pressure drop to zero. When the pressure drops, open the pressure cooker, stir the mixture, and serve the dalia immediately. Garnish with freshly ground pepper and additional salt, to taste.
EditMaking Sweet Dalia
- Roast the cracked wheat in the ghee. Combine the wheat and ghee in a medium saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Roast the wheat until it’s toasted, slightly browned, and aromatic.
- You can also dry roast the wheat in the saucepan, but make sure you stir constantly to avoid burning.
- You can also cook sweet dalia in a pressure cooker.
- Add the water. Stir the wheat and water together and cover the pan. Stay close to the pan, because the mixture could froth up and boil over very quickly. Cook the wheat for 10 to 12 minutes, until it’s absorbed the water and taken on a soft and tender consistency.
- If the pan does boil over, remove the lid and stir the mixture. Place the lid on halfway to prevent it from boiling over again.
- Add the milk and cardamom. Stir to incorporate the milk and spice into the wheat mixture. Leave the saucepan uncovered and continue cooking the dalia over medium-low heat. Stir regularly until the dalia reaches the consistency you like.
- For runnier dalia, cook the mixture just long enough to heat the milk, about 1 to 2 minutes. For a thicker and more porridge-like consistency, cook the mixture for about 5 minutes so the wheat absorbs more of the milk.
- Add the sugar, nuts, and raisins. Stir to mix all the ingredients evenly throughout the dalia. Leave the dalia on the heat for another 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar and heat the nuts and raisins. Taste the dalia before serving and add more sugar or milk, to taste.
- You can add a variety of extra ingredients to the sweet dalia, including dried fruit chunks, chopped figs, pieces of dates, and spices like cinnamon and saffron.
- Eat it hot. Dalia is best eaten hot, regardless of whether you’re enjoying the plain, vegetable, or sweet variety. Even if you’re eating leftovers, be sure to reheat them in a saucepan before serving.
- When making sweet dalia, it’s important to heat the dalia through after adding milk, because the milk will lower the temperature of the dish.
- Garnish it with fresh herbs. You can garnish dalia with any spices or aromatics you like, and chopped fresh herbs are one of the most popular ways to finish a dish before serving. Wash, dry, and chop the herbs finely before sprinkling them on top of each individual dish of dalia.
- Good herbs for garnishing vegetable dalia include parsley and coriander.
- Popular herbs for pairing with sweet or dessert dishes include mint, cilantro, and basil.
- Serve it with yogurt. Both sweet and vegetable dalia can be served with yogurt, either on the side or mixed right into the dish before serving. For sweet dalia, consider vanilla or fruit flavored yogurts. Serve vegetable dalia with plain yogurt or raita.
- Raita is a yogurt-based condiment made with herbs, spices, and often cucumber and onion.