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Cherine Mallah’s Barley Porridge with Fruit and Nuts (Belboula)

by The Hubb Community Kitchen from Together: Our Community Cookbook

A simple recipe for a delicious and wholesome breakfast of barley porridge decorated with fruit and nuts for extra flavour.


My Lebanese husband is a real gym freak and likes to eat healthily, so I look for lower-fat versions of the traditional dishes from our cultures. I love anything made with couscous, so this porridge fits the bill for both of us. And you don’t have to stand over a pan stirring on busy mornings. I vary the amount of water – I prefer a firm texture, but Hussein has it more like normal porridge.

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150g barley couscous (belboula)
2 tsp olive oil or vegetable oil
300ml boiling water
½ tsp ground cinnamon, or to taste
75g walnut halves
150g blueberries
75g fresh pomegranate seeds
4 small fresh figs, quartered (optional)
200ml milk or almond milk, to serve

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Place the couscous in a large bowl. Add the oil and mix with a fork until all the grains are coated. Add the boiling water, cover with clingfilm and leave for 10 minutes. When all the water has been absorbed, fluff up the couscous with a fork and add the cinnamon to taste.

To serve, pile the couscous into a large serving dish or individual bowls and smooth over the surface. Decorate with the walnuts, blueberries, pomegranate seeds and figs (if using), or with other toppings of your choice.

Serve the milk or almond milk on the side, to be stirred in according to taste.

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