Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is an ancient grain that originated in Ethiopia and Southeast Asia, where it was used for bread, animal feed, and beer. It was the staple grain across many parts of Europe, Africa and China before being displaced by wheat, corn and rice.
Barley ranks fourth in quantity produced and in area of cultivation of cereal crops in the world.
It has always been prized for its nutritional benefits and medicinal properties. (Nutritional analysis HERE)
Pic: Wikimedia Commons
Barley grains are available in two forms. Hulled barley is the most nutritious, since it retains the bran. Only the outer hulls are polished off. Pearl barley also called hull-less barley has the outer bran layer removed as well. Though it is less nutritious, it is more popular, since it is less chewy than hulled barley and takes about 30% less time to cook.
These are two of our experiments with pearl (hull-less) barley.
LEMON BARLEY WATER
Add 8 cups of water to 1 cup barley (washed a couple of times), pressure cook it until soft (for 15 minutes after pressure is released). Or cook for an hour or more on the stovetop. Cool, and drain the liquid (we ended up with 4 cups of liquid).
Add an equal amount of water to the barley water. We had 4 cups of barley water, and added 4 cups of water.
Add about 3 tablespoons lemon zest, 1/4 cup lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and 1/4 cup sugar or sweetener of choice (we used light agave nectar).
(Note: American lemons are quite distinct from Indian ‘lemons’, which are actually limes. Lemons are yellow-skinned, sweeter and closer to the Indian sweet lime or mosambi in flavour)
Strain, stir, chill, stir again, and serve.
BARLEY WITH SPICED YOGURT (“Thayirchadam” )
Cooked, barley grains are a bit stickier than rice grains, making them perfect for creamy dishes like risotto or “thayirchadam“, which is a south Indian dish with rice and spiced yogurt. (In Tamil, thayir = yogurt, chadam = rice.)
Add 1.5 cups plain yogurt and 1/2 cup milk while the barley grains are still warm. If the yogurt is sour, increase the proportion of milk to yogurt. Add salt to taste, 3 or 4 chopped green serrano or bird chillies, 1 tsp grated ginger, 6 finely chopped curry leaves.
Heat 1 tsp vegetable oil and add 1 tsp brown mustard seeds and 1 broken dry red chilli. When the mustard seeds pop, add it to the barley-yogurt mixture. Chill the mixture. It should thicken further to the consistency of thick porridge. Add more yogurt//milk if necessary.
Just before serving, add 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro. We also added 1/4 cup each grated carrot and finely chopped kiwi fruit. Other optional additions: pomegranate, pineapple, grapes.
We served ours alongside figs and red grapes.
Filed Under: Barley, barley-with-yogurt, Carrot, Cilantro/Coriander Leaves, Curry leaves, Dairy/Cheese, Fig, Grapes, hulled-barley, Kiwi fruit, lemon-barley-water, Lemon/Lime, pearl-barley, thayirchadam, vegetarian recipes