I love fried rice but its easy to overcook rice. So instead, I use barley to make this easy, delicious and healthy barley made in the style of fried rice. It's my way to use up lots of vegetables every week.
1 Cup Organic Pearl Barley
1 Small Onion, Small Diced
2 Small Carrots, Small Diced
2 Cloves of Garlic, thin Sliced
1/4 Cup of Sugar Snap peas, De-stringed and Diced
15 Shittake Mushrooms, Diced
1 Good Handful, Swiss Chard, Stems separated and diced. Leaves cut into slices
1 Few Thyme Sprigs
Rinse the barley under cold water until the water runs clear to get off most of the starch. You can cook the barley just like pasta. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add salt and the barley and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until it tastes soft and chewy.
While the barley is cooking, dice up all the vegetables (see video).
Once all the vegetables are prepped and the barley is cooked, drain the barley through a strainer and set aside while you start the stir fry.
I prefer to use a large nonstick pan with curbed sides for this. In the end, the pan is going to need to hold a lot of stuff and flow around in the pan nicely. Like all stir fry dishes, we are going to need to cook everything on high heat. So start it out on high, then it's on you to adjust the heat throughout the process to ensure nothing gets too hot and nothing gets too cold.
Add some olive oil and the first vegetable to add are the mushrooms. Season with salt and cook until the mushrooms begin to develop a little bit of color. Then add the onions, carrot, and the Swiss chard stems. Add the thyme. Repeat the process, cook, until the carrot and onions develop a little bit of color. If the pan ever looks dry, add more oil, you don’t want this to dry up at all. Then add the sugar snap pea and the garlic. Season with more salt. The garlic is going to a big part of the flavor development so let that get a little bit of color. It should be very fragrant. Make sure the is enough oil in the pan for the garlic flavor to transfer to the other ingredients. Then add the barley and stir and toss that to absorb all that garlic and oil flavor and distribute all the ingredients evenly throughout the barley. Once everything is cooked and the barley is flavorful, add in the Swiss chard and wilt that into the barley. Do a final seasoning check. If you want, you could finish it like regular fried rice with some soy sauce (just be careful with salt if you are doing that) or you could drizzle in a touch of balsamic vinegar or even some citrus juice to brighten it up. Otherwise serve as is, with any portion or simply with a fried egg on top.
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