Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Barley salad

So, when I saw this salad last summer on Soma's blog, I just knew I had to do it. And I've made it several times since then. I love trying out new grains and barley was casually added to the list. I'd bought barley, but hadn't figured out what to do with it. Just when I think this way, Soma, very helpfully comes up with a post :D So, I figured, might as well do what she did.

Its amazing how filling this dish is, and how easily it can be put together. It requires a lot of chopping work, what with the myriad veggies thrown in, but trust me, its all worth it. Now, again, come this summer, I was determined to make it, click it and post it!

As Nandita and I were discussing on Twitter, sometimes, some dishes come out so well. And mostly during dinner at my place thanks to that being the only major meal cooked! Either I find the photos not great, or I just don't take any pictures. While I don't want to put any pressure on myself to take a picture of every thing I eat, I don't want to skip posting great recipe ideas on this blog. What do you guys do? How do you cope?


Here is the recipe!

1 cup barley
1-1.5 cups mixed veggies (carrots, beans, corn- we used the frozen mix :D)
1 cup spinach (fresh leaves) - no need to chop them.
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 star anise
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp red chili powder (or cayenne pepper powder)
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste

1. Cook the barley. We did so in a microwave. Cook until its tender but not too chewy/mushy. We ended up using about 2-3 cups of water. It took us about 15-20 mins. to cook the barley. Once cooked, drain if there is any excess water remaining.

2. While the barley is cooking, add 1/2 tbsp oil to a skillet. When hot, add the cumin seeds and star anise. When they crackle, add the onions and the veggies (except spinach) together. Let them cook for about 3-4 mins.

3. Add the spinach and all the spices and let it cook for another 5-10 mins.

4. When the veggies are almost tender enough to eat, add the cooked barley with remaining 1/2 tbsp oil. This will avoid individual grains from sticking together.

5. Cook for 2 more mins. Let it rest for a couple more minutes.

And you're ready to go!

Make it this summer. This works great as a salad or as a pulao too. We try to create different flavors every time we make this. Last time we made it, we experimented with Thai flavors. When you cook the barley in the microwave like we did, there is no need to soak it even. While I cut the vegetables, this cooked in the MW and it was drained and ready by the time I got done with cooking the veggies. How easy can it get?


Cookie said...

What a refreshing dish! I love all the great spices you used!

Priti said...

Ahh so far I always look at barley and think whether I can make anything gud for them ..now got a idea...looks and filling...

Cham said...

Made soup and loved it, salad sounds more quick in microwave!

Sig said...

Barley, an ingredient I always skip over... I've just got to try it one of these days, the look of your salad is a great motivation. :)
Oh, and that star anise, what a lovely addition.

sra said...

I just try until I get a good foto. If I don't, I leave it - that's why my blog doesn't have too many meat recipes, because I can't get them to look appetising. Sometimes even if it's a sorry picture, I just put it in. I take anywhere from 20-50 pix so photographing everything I cook is out of question. Sometimes the photographs are good but the dish is no great shakes, so I ignore those too!

Happy Cook said...

I hav eneve rmade anything with barley salade looks a delcious way to use them.

Asha said...

I have a pack of Barley, got to use it. I think Barley soup would be wonderful. Pulao/Sald looks yum.
As for the pressure of taking good pics, yeah! Sometimes it gets to you. Sometimes I forget to click and then curse myself! :P

Priya said...

Thats a beautiful and healthy salad, thanks for sharing..

Cakelaw said...

This looks delicios! And so healthy.

Red Chillies said...

You will not beleive this, just 2 days ago I got some quick cooking barley by Quaker and have been looking for some ideas. Got one of them! Thanks to you and Soma :-)

A_and_N said...

@RC: Good for you! :) Its pretty tasty. Let 'us' know how it went.

@Cakelaw, Priya: Oh yes, it is!

@Asha: Same here, Asha! Hope you're doing well :)

@Happy cook: It is pretty flavorful. Try it!

@ Sra: I don't spend too much time too with the styling and all that. I believe food should be shown the way we eat or the way we like to eat. And to a certain extent, I need all the glamour ;)

@ Sig: Oh, this works great with SBD Phase 2 I think and very filling too!

@ Cham: Oh, I'd love a recipe for the soup! Thank you :)

@ Priti, Cookie: thank you ladies!

Nupur said...

This looks so nourishing and wonderful! Barley is one grain that I have yet to experiment with.

kusublakki said...

This looks sooo yummy! Will try it out sometime soon :)

Soma said...


I have never cooked barley in the MC. Thanks for that info. The star anise is a nice touch and this is the best part of these kinda salads; just throw in whatever you have at hand and every time it is a new dish.

Jamie said...

This is really the perfect summer meal, filling without being heavy and so healthy and refreshing. And I love the Indian spices you use which is such a change from what I usually use. Great dish!

Susan said...

I love barley but do not cook with it nearly enough. A great salad to talk up. (I grew up on Scotch Broth, a soup of beef stock, barley and veggies - no slam whatsoever, but now that I am vegetarian, the recipe avenues are so very different.)

I would tuck in with fork to this bowl in an instant.

Arch said...

Saw your blog today after a long time...Congratulations N - u must be soooo excited about going back to school...I am in your part of the world, on a holiday, was here for a month almost - leaving in 2 days...if u can, gimme your number - will call u...all the very best :)

Elle said...

Easy is good...and so are all the fab flavors in this dish. I love barley and spinach in particular. Might go with a Thai seasonings take...sounds good, too.

Usha said...

Loved the barley salad and the Indian flavors you have given it! Delicious...

About the photos, I find that some dishes just do not come out very well in pictures and I never end up featuring them on my site. Some I put off until I get a reasonable picture :-)

Vaishali said...

What a truly healthful salad with the barley and the veggies. I am usually not a fan of salads, but something like this would definitely change my mind. The star anise must add great flavor!

shankari said...

A nourishing salad and looks pretty too. I only make soups..can experiment with salads now

Bong Mom said...

I have always skipped barley till now, reminds me of Barley water when we used to get sick. This beautiful salad should help me cross the hurdle I hope

Jaya Wagle said...

This barley nearly slipped under my radar probably because I have never cooked or eaten it. But this recipe sounds simple enough to make it.

As to photos, I don't photograph everything I cook and sometimes when I do, it is in a hurry. Very rarely do I plan a tablescape and I am not too good at it. Sometimes, I have pics that sit in the drive forever and I move on to other things and never write down the recipe! The only thing I try to be careful about is the light source, which is my dining room window.

Mandira said...

this looks delicious! I have to get some barley to try this.

A_and_N said...

@ Mandira: Thanks! It is fairly inexpensive. I think it costs around a dollar per pound or so.

@ Jaya: Well, now you know :) Give it a try!

@ Bong Mom: I hope so too :)

@ Shankari: Thanks. This is definitely more filling than a leafy lettuce-based salad.

@ Vaishali: You could call this a pilaf if you have it warm :)

dining room sets said...

I like the colors of this dish! It is so appetizing. I can't wait to try this one.

Anonymous said...

Dear friends, Brahmakumaris are vegetarian... and emphasize that a vegetarian diet feeds the soul as well as the body. There is Brahmakumaris meditation...that relaxes the mind...nurtures a healthy balance between inner and outer worlds... recharge... rejuvenate the inner-self... From Gita