Here in sunny Singapore barley is almost always made into a drink with rock sugar, because according to traditional chinese medicine barley has a mild "yin" qi that can help to reduce your body's heat. Usually after cooking, the liquid is strained and the barley is thrown away, but I've always loved their rich chewy texture.
In this recipe the lime (you can use lemon, whatever is available) lends a light and fresh note which is perfect for summer, either as a main dish or as a side. For a slightly salty profile I went ahead and added a tablespoon of hummus (I used Chris Brand Fresh and light which is lower in sodium, but you can use any brand). Pearl barley has a natural nutty flavour that can be easily masked by heavy flavours, so be sure to taste before adding salt.
I used tomatoes and olives in this recipe but you can go ahead and substitute these with boiled carrots, mushrooms, peppers or whatever you have lying around in the fridge. —Meranda
To cook the barley
For the salad
cherry tomatoes, in yellow and red
Lime or lemon juice
Almonds, about 10-11 (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
In This Recipe
Rinse the barley thoroughly to remove dirt. In a small saucepan, place the barley and water. Cover and cook on low heat until most of the water has been absorbed (about 20-25 mins).
While waiting for your barley, slice up your cherry tomatoes and olives. Be sure to visit your barley occasionally and give them a little stir to make sure they don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
For the dressing: mix 1 tablespoon hummus (more or less if preferred) with 2 tsp lime juice.
Drain the cooked barley with a colander. If you don't fancy your barley to be gooey, run the barley under cold water and drain.
Add the drained barley to your dressing and toss. Mix in tomatoes and olives. Taste and adjust dressing, add salt and pepper to taste.
The salad keeps well in a tupperware in the fridge for 2-3 days. When ready to serve, add a handful of almonds for a bit of crunch and sweetness. Serve with roasted barley tea.