Burbara -Middle Eastern Wheat Berry Porridge with dish-away

The much awaited beginning of Spring has finally arrived but somehow Mother Nature got the order of events confused.  March is supposed to come in like a Lion and go out like a Lamb!  We’ll evidently the Lion ate the Lamb, and decided to stick around a bit longer.  The calendar may say Spring, but the temperatures are definitely telling me it’s still Winter.

But its Friday and although the weather outside is frightful, we can forget our troubles and indulge in a delightful dish to help us forget about the weather, and remember just how blessed we are after all.   Things can always be worse.

I’d like to take this time to welcome my friend Seta from dish-away  it’s my pleasure today to turn my blog over to her as she creates one of her favorite dishes for us.   Please give a warm welcome Seta as I give you…….


I love this dish!! Other than its amazingly refreshing taste, I love the aromatic smell that fills the house as it cooks. A sweet mixture of fennel, anise, and cinnamon.  Wheat Berries porridge, is a healthy dish that could be served hot or cold. I like to eat it hot on cold winter days, and cold during the summer hot days.

wheat berries

The common name of this dish is “Burbara” in reference to Saint Barbra. It got this name because Christians across the Middle East prepare this porridge on Saint Barbra’s day in December (December 4 for Protestant and Catholic Christians and December 17 for Greek Orthodox Christians).  Although historically, wheat berry porridge was prepared by Christians in this area to celebrate all the Saint’s holidays, with time these celebrations decreased and only few kept the custom of preparing the wheat berries porridge during those days. But for the Saint Barbra’s day, it is different as many Christian see it as marking the start of Christmas celebrations and so the habit of preparing the porridge continued and with time it got its famous name of today “Burbara”.

Wheat Berries porridge 2

I usually prepare Burbara throughout the year, it is loaded with healthy stuff and I love having it for breakfast. It keeps well in the fridge for up to one week. I put less sugar than the usual, so you will notice that it may not be as sweet as you will expect a dessert to taste. If you like it sweeter add some extra sugar.

Wheat Berries porridge3

Burbara -Middle Eastern Wheat Berries Porridge with dish-away
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups wheat berries
  • 2 liters (8 cups) water
  • 1 liter (4 cups) water (this is in addition to the water above)
  • 1 cup sugar (you may substitute partially with honey)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoon ground anise seeds
  • 2 tablespoon ground fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅔ cup chopped walnuts
  • ⅔ cup chopped whole almonds with skin (you may substitute with blanched)
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  1. Clean the wheat berries by removing any stones or derbies. Measure 2 cups cleaned berries then wash very well with water. Put in colander to drain.
  2. Place the wheat berries and the 2 liters of water in a pot and boil for 1 hour, mixing every 15 minutes so that the berries don’t stick to the bottom of the port. Turn off the fire and set aside to cool for 5-6 hours. You will notice that the berries will absorb much of the water.
  3. Chop the walnuts and the almonds. I usually put them I a nylon bag, wrap the bag with a kitchen towel and use the garlic hammer to pound the bag for a few minutes. The pieces shouldn't be very small.
  4. Add the remaining water, sugar, raisins, spices and nuts, Bring to boil then simmer for 20-30 minutes. If the porridge thickens a lot you may add some additional water.
  5. Garnish with nuts or pomegranate seeds.


Now if that doesn’t warm you up on this cold spring day I don’t know what will.  Thank you Seta for such a delicious guest post!  Now before you forget, head on over to dish-away and say hi to Seta, you’ll be glad you did!

Thanks for stopping by today, and have a happy weekend. Stay warm, stay face and eat well.


  1. Seta, that was a fascinating history behind this flavorful dish. It’s neat to see the role that food plays in our traditions — each “favorite” has significance and memories attached. I also liked the “flower” garnishes you topped it off with! Thanks for a lovely guest post. And Dennis, I’m hoping warmer weather heads your way soon!

  2. Kind of a wheat berry rice pudding? Sounds heavenly! I’m wondering how it would be for breakfast. And I love those flowers, too!


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