Last Updated : Apr 28,2023

Barley Glossary |Health Benefits, + Recipes with Barley + Uses
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Also Known As
Jao, Hordeum vulgare

What is barley, jau, jao?

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.

Cooked barley
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 deep non-stick pan, add 2 cups of water and cook on a high flame till cooked. Drain using a strainer and use as required.
Soaked barley
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, jau, jao

• 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.

Culinary Uses of barley, jau, jao

Barley is recommended by dieticians all over the world as it is high in fiberproteins and also aids weight loss. You too can try it in the form of Nourishing Barley Soup, if you are aiming at reach your weight loss targets.

Barley can be used as a substitute of rice in Indian recipes like Barley and Moong dal khichdi.

Barley can also be used to make South Indian delicacies like Mysore Dosa and Barley Idli.

1. Barley is a cereal grain that can be used whole, cracked or even as a flour. This flour can be used to make barley breads, muffins and even pancakes.
2. Since barley is a nutritional product and keeps the body cool, it is used in making kanji, a summer drink. To make this barley is first Roasted and powdered and cooked with a little water. Once cooked, it is had with milk and sugar, which in turn helps regulating the body temperature.
3. Barley is recommended by dieticians all over the world as it is high in fiber, proteins and also aids weight loss.

See here for complete uses of Barley in Indian cooking.

How to store barley, jau, jao

• 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.

Health benefits of barley, jau, jao

Barley is diabetic and pregnancy friendly. A high fiber diet for years has been paired with reduced risk of heart disease. The fiber (2.73 g) from barley helps reduce blood cholesterol levels. Additionally folate, potassium and magnesium also work together to support a healthy heart The B vitamins (thiamineriboflavin and niacin) along with magnesium and potassium have been identified in supporting nerve health and lowering high blood pressure. When you have barley with lemon juice it reduces the glycemic index. See here for 9 benefits of barley and why you should eat it.  

Nutritional Information for barley, jau, jao:

½ Cup of raw barley is about 70 grams
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.

Energy - 235 calories
Protein – 8.05 g
Carbohydrate – 48.7 g
Fat – 0.91 g
Fiber – 2.73 g

0.32 mg of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) = 20% of RDA ( (about 1.2 to 1.6 mg for men)
0.14 mg of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) = 7.3% of RDA (about 1.4 to 1.9 mg for men)
3.78 mg of Vitamin B3 = 31.5 % of RDA (about 12 mg)
16.1 mcg of Folate (Vitamin B9) = 16.1% of RDA (about 100 mcg)

18.2 mg of Calcium = 1.82% of RDA (about 1000 mg)
1.16 mg of Iron = 5.8% of RDA (about 20 mg)
14.7 mg of Magnesium = 4.2% of RDA (about 350 mg)
150.5 mg of Phosphorus = 25.08% of RDA (about 600 mg)
0.84 mg of Zinc = 7% of RDA (about 10 to 12 mg)
196 mg of Potassium = 4.1% of RDA (about 4700 g)

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