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Also Known As
Jao, Hordeum vulgare
Barley is a versatile cereal grain derived from the grass Hordeum Vulgare. It resembles wheat berries, although it is slightly lighter in color. It has a nutty flavour and a chewy consistency.
Before cooking barley, rinse it thoroughly under water and pressure cook till done. You may also soak the barley before use. Use barley and water in the ratio of 1:3. It usually takes around an hour to cook. Pearl barley will take relatively less time to cook than hulled barley.
There are various forms of barley available in the market. These include:
1. Pearl Barley: It is less chewy and can be cooked faster than other forms of barley. It is less in nutrients since the outermost hull, bran layer and even the inner endosperm layer may be removed while polishing.
2. Hulled/ De-hulled Barley: Only the outermost hull of the grain gets removed. It requires more soaking and cooking but is very nutritious.
3. Scotch Barley: It is lesser polished form of barley than pearl barley and is more nutritious.
4. Barley Flakes: Made from hulled or pearl barley, it is flattened and sliced. It has an appearance similar to rolled oats and is used in soups etc.
5. Cracked Barley: Barley is toasted and grilled and is similar in appearance to cracked wheat.
Barley can be cooked in 2 ways, one is in a pressure cooker and other on stove top. To cook in a pressure cooker, take 1/2 cup barley and 1 cup water and pressure cook for 1 whistle. Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid. Then drain using a strainer and use as required. To cook on a stove top take 1/2 cup barley in a nonstick pan, add 2 cups of water and cook on a high flame till cooked. Drain using a strainer and use as required.
Hulled barley takes quite some time to cook and thus it is advised to soak barley overnight before cooking. Soaking softens the grains and ensures speedy cooking. To soak barley, clean the grains to ensure there are no dirt, stones etc. Add water, cover with a lid, and allow soaking for around eight hours or overnight. Soaked barley can be cooked and used in soups, stews, porridges etc.
How to select
• Barley is generally available in hulled, pearl and flake forms.
• It is available prepackaged as well as in bulk containers.
• Whatever the packaging, ensure that you check the manufacturing and expiry date before purchasing.
• Since barley is a nutritional product, it is used in making kanji. Roast and powder barley and cook with little water. Once cooked, combine with milk and sugar and consume immediately.
• Since it is widely cultivated in the Middle East, it is used in a range of Arabic, Turkish and Persian cuisines.
• Combine barley flour with wheat flour to make breads, dosas, biscuits, muffins etc.
• Pearl barley is commonly used to nourish soups, stews etc. In Saudi Arabia, barley soup is traditionally eaten during Ramadan.
• Cracked barley or barley flakes can be used like other nourishing cereals to make porridges etc.
• Sprouted barley is naturally high in sugar (maltose) and is used as a base for malt syrups and sweeteners.
• Barley is one of the primary ingredients used in beer, whiskey and other alcoholic beverages.
• Combine cooked barley with vegetables and dressings of your choice to make healthy salads.
• Non alcoholic beverages like barley water and barley tea are prepared by boiling barley in water.
How to store
• Store barley in a covered glass container in a cool, dry place away from moisture.
• It can also be stored in the refrigerator during periods of warm weather.
• Due to its high fibre content, barley can be used in a low-cholesterol diet.
• It is also good for the intestine.
• Since it is also a good source of Niacin, it is beneficial for women with high blood pressure and other problems that surface during menopause.
• It is a good source of magnesium, which is required for insulin secretion and glucose absorption.
• In contains essential amino acids, which can regulate blood sugar levels.
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