Pearl Barley and Red Lentil salad
The husband came back from a trip to India with some dietary advice from a nutritionist he had seen while there.
Have barley water everyday, it read. Another fad, I sighed.
A tad disbelievingly, a little indulgently as well as optimistically and promptly the barely was bought. The broth was prepared, strained and stocked. Loathe as I was to throw away the boiled grains, I put them away in the fridge and promptly forgot about them.
No one wanted to drink this barely water, not even the husband. Can’t bear the thought of drinking this dishwater, he said churlishly. The box of boiled grains got pushed further and further behind other things each time the fridge was opened. I was growing concerned about the barley brew going bad, after all it was starchy water- did it look a little cloudy? I removed the container to inspect and as luck would have it, my hand lost its grip and the brew spilled on to the kitchen floor. Dang! Maybe a portent? Cleaning the mess, I was in no mood to even look at the unassuming dregs, patiently but strangely confidently trying to catch my eye.
A day or two later, overcome by a sense of duty and decency, I ventured to taste a few grains and was pleasantly surprised. It tasted good! So, is barley really good?
My friend Google, as usual was very supportive and informative and I had struck pay dirt!
This apparently is a ‘golden’ grain. Low GI -pearl barley reportedly has a GI of 22-wow! It has soluble fibre, which helps lower cholesterol and regulates blood sugars. Moreover, barley is full of vitamins and minerals. To top it all, it actually tastes good!
I brushed aside my sheepishness with bravado and got busy devising this salad out of the remnant grains.
Pearl Barley and Red Lentil (Masoor) salad
1 cup pearl barley
½ cup soaked and sprouted red lentils
1 cup finely shredded cabbage/lettuce
1 tomato, chopped
1 carrot, thinly sliced
A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
A handful of baby rocket, chopped
A handful of mint leaves, chopped
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs lemon juice
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic crushed
1 tsp honey or some sweetener (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pomegranate seeds to garnish
Cook the pearl barley and red lentils in a saucepan with plenty of boiling water and a teaspoon of salt for about 25 minutes until tender. Drain the water - you can use it in soups or for kneading dough.
Alternately, you can pressure cook the two, with the salt and about three cups of water.
Place all ingredients in an airtight screw-top jar and shake well till you get an emulsion.
Place the shredded cabbage/lettuce, sliced carrots, chopped tomatoes, chopped herbs and the cooked pearl barley and red lentils.
Add dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.