Barley pearls had been lying in my pantry for a couple of months now. I had totally forgotten about them until I recently came across a recipe that involved barley pearls. After having eaten Indian food for almost a week in a row, I decided to make something that was milder in spices. After peeping into my refrigerator for its contents, I decided to try my own barley salad with almost all the vegetables that were in my refrigerator. For a trial run, this salad tasted really good!
Barley is not only rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers, but is also a good source of vitamin E. This salad is healthy, has a good combination of all the nutrients and is pretty filling too. I did not have olives at home, but pitted olives would be a great addition to this salad. This recipe is dedicated to my friend M who is looking for a healthy way to consume vegetables in her everyday meal. The salad can be a whole meal by itself or can be served as side with a rice or sandwich main course.
Barley takes a long time to cook and hence I used a pressure cooker to quicken the process. If not cooked well, it could have a rubbery texture that might also be hard to digest. Well cooked barley will be soft and easily mashed when squeezed between fingers. Cooked barley is bland to taste and hence I added some cumin and coriander flavors, while cooking, to make it taste better. While cooking barley, it might be necessary to add a teaspoon of oil to prevent the mixture from frothing.
Barley Salad Recipe
(serves one – two)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1/4 cup uncooked pearled barley
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cayenne powder or red chili powder
2 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1 cup cucumber, cubed
1/2 cup black beans or garbanzo beans, cooked
1/2 cup sprouts (I used green gram sprouts)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp black pepper, crushed
1 cup cabbage, cut into thin long strips
1/2 cup carrot, cut into thin long strips
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced vertically*
1/2 cup olives, pitted (optional)
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley (or cilantro), finely chopped
1 tbsp mint, finely chopped
Salt to taste
To cook pearled barley
Thoroughly wash pearled barley and add 2/3 cup water (approx. 1:2.5 ratio). Add 1/8 tsp salt, turmeric powder, ground cumin and coriander, cayenne powder, and 1 tsp olive oil and pressure cook for about 10 – 15 minutes*. There should not be any excess water after the barley is cooked, but if there is any, save it for using in soups.
To assemble the salad
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat. When hot, add carrots, cabbage and 1/8 tsp salt. Saute until cabbage turns brown and the veggies are semi-cooked.
In a bowl, mix cooked barley, sauteed veggies, black beans, sprouts, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, garlic, and lemon juice. Sprinkle mint, parsley and crushed black pepper. Add lemon juice and 1 tbsp olive oil. Mix well and adjust salt. Serve at room temperature or cold.
* If grape tomatoes are not handy, use regular tomatoes cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
* Cooking time depends on the pressure cooker. To give you an idea, barley and unsoaked black beans needed the same amount of cooking time.