This is my Japanese spin on the Italian classic. The miso-soused grains of barley positively ooze deep umami flavours. I love the Mame (or Hatcho) variety for its musky breath and the aged pungent hit of almost liquorice intensity. It’s a deep reddish-brown, maybe even black that resembles chocolate fudge. By all means, use another miso variety if you find Mame overwhelming.
What you will need – (for 4 servings)
- Pearl barley – 1 cup, soaked for a 4-5 hours
- Carrots – 1 large, peeled and sliced into roundelles (about 1 cup)
- Green peas – 1 cup
- Onion – 1 medium, chopped (leeks work really well too)
- Garlic cloves – 4 -5, minced
- Ginger – 2″ knob, peeled and minced
- Mushrooms – 200 grams, sliced (I used button mushrooms but I highly recommend using shiitake mushrooms. Both fresh and dried varieties work well)
- Soy sauce – 1/4 cup
- Miso paste – 1 1/2 teaspoon
- Kale/Cabbage – 1 cup packed, chopped
- Sesame oil – 2 tablespoon (sub with vegetable oil)
- A pinch of salt
For garnish –
Toasted sesame seeds
I prefer an abundance of vegetables in my orzottos or pilafs. Please adjust the veg to grain ratio to your liking.
Also feel free to use broccoli, beans or other robust vegetables if you wish.
- Rinse soaked barley in cold running water. Add to a pot with 3 cups water and cook on medium heat for 25-30 mins (or until the barley is tender and chewy). It’s important that you let it cook untouched. Stirring the barley while it cooks will leave you with a gummy-sticky-blob and you definitely don’t want that.
- Once tender, drain excess water and rinse with cold water to stop it from cooking further. Set aside.
- In a cup mix miso paste with soy sauce. Stir to dissolve the miso completely and set aside.
- Heat a large pan over medium-low heat, add 1 tbsp oil and onions. Sauté till onions are translucent. Add the carrots, peas, garlic and ginger. Season with a wee bit of salt (use way lesser than you think you need because miso and soy are rather salty on their own). Sauté for 8-9 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add cabbage/kale or other greens. Sauté till all the veg is cooked to your liking. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- In the same pan, add remaining oil and sauté mushrooms for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until any released liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are darker. Transfer to the bowl of veggies.
- Now stir in the miso-soy mix into the pan and let it reduce for 30-40 seconds. Add cooked barley and stir well to coat evenly in the sauce. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, add all of the cooked vegetables, turn off the flame and serve warm.
Storage notes –
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for upto 3 days.
If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!