There are recipes in the world you have never ever heard about, but as soon as you try them, you are hooked and can’t imagine your life without it. I have to warn you – this one here might be one of those recipes. It is for me, anyway. These little pearls came to my life a few months back as serendipity. I had cooked barley for salad and had some of it leftover, even a little dried already.
The thing is that I really don’t like throwing away food BUT I also didn’t want to eat dried out barley. So I figured why not make it extra crispy if it is too dry to eat anyway. Luckily, it worked very well. For a while, I would say I was addicted to sprinkling those on everything. Like really everything - from salads to soups, and for those I consider using savory toppings normal. But I would also use it on natural yogurt and fruits, smoothie bowls, ice cream…. Not so normal anymore, but so, so delicious. By now the first excitement has faded, but I still occasionally make a batch and finish it too quickly.
I will not give you a portion size for this recipe, but I do recommend preparing these little crispy nuggets from at least 200 grams of barley. They will last for a few weeks if kept in an airtight container. And away from snacking area ☺
Delicious Crispy Barley
Cooking time: 5 hours in total, but only 10 minutes of active time
Oil for frying
Soak the barley at least for a few hours or overnight, then rinse and boil until tender. It takes around 20 minutes. In case you really don’t have time to soak the barley before, the boiling time will be longer.
Drain and spread out on a kitchen paper in one layer. Leave them to dry for at least 2 hours or again overnight, but in this case keep them in the fridge, uncovered.
If the barley is very dry, heat oil in the bottom of a small saucepan. The oil should cover about 1 inch of the base. The temperature is correct if the barley pearl thrown into the oil immediately starts sizzling.
Fry the barley one handful at a time and do not overcrowd the pan. Carefully throw the barley to the pan, let fry for about 30 seconds, then start carefully stirring with a slotted spoon until the grains are not stuck together anymore and are nice and crispy. It takes around a minute. Then lift out and drain on kitchen paper.
Repeat with all the barley you have, then season with salt, let cool and store in an airtight container to sprinkle them over everything from soups to salads to yogurt.
By Kadri Raig
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