Pearl Barley Stirfry, The Oriental Way

Pear Barley Stirfry, The Oriental Way

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pear Barley Stirfry, The Oriental Way








There are different varieties of barley liked hulled, pot, pressed and sprouting but pearl barley is the one which is most commonly used in cooking.

Pearl barley has the husk and bran layers removed; you end up with the ‘pearl’ inside which is faster to cook and chewy in texture. In terms of nutrition value, it is the least nutritious type of barley but it is still fairly nutritious.

Cooked Pearl BarleyOnce boiled, it looks very much like some round, plump variety of rice (photo to the right). It is slightly chewy and pretty much bland.

However, in terms of nutrition content, I like to think that it performs better than brown rice because it has slightly less number of calories but – and this is where it really wins – it has four times more fiber.

I fancied some Chinese style stirfry but wanted to avoid having it with rice or noodles so decided to substitute with pearl barley. The combination works quite well.

I couldn’t get hold of tofu so used eggs for protein and added spring onions and peanuts for texture.

a delicious and inviting stirfry

When making stirfry, you don’t want the vegetables soggy. This is what works for me. I wash and cut the vegetables and put them in a colander. I let them sit for a couple of hours till any excess water is drained. When you are ready to cook, the vegetables will be without any moisture.

You can serve the stirfry on a bed of cooked pearl barley or mix the barley at the end of the stirfry. I did the latter simply because when I am cooking for myself, I try to make one-pot meals as far as possible to save on washing up. So I cooked the barley a few hours ahead of time and when the stirfry was done, I tossed it in (a bit like stir fried rice I guess?).

In the past, I have used pearl barley in a soup. But now that I have discovered the world of cooked pearl barley as a substitute for rice, look out for more kooky recipes featuring this ingredient :-).


1/2 Cup uncooked pearl barley

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup babycorn

1/2 Cup mushrooms

1/2 Cup broccoli

1 Bunch spring onion

1 Head of garlic

A piece of ginger, the size of your thumb

5-10 Basil leaves

1/2 Cup Fresh coriander

1 Star anise

2-3 Dry birds eye chilli

1-2 Tablespoons raw peanuts

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

A pinch of pepper

Salt to taste


  1. Cook pearl barley according to instructions on the packet. Drain and set aside till you are ready to make the stirfry. You can drink the drained water, it is very healthy.
  2. Dry roast the peanuts, remove the skin and split them in half. You can use a knife or do this in pestle and mortar. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the eggs, add a pinch pf pepper and some salt and make an omelet. Once it is cooled, roll it and cut it in slices. You will end up with strips of omelet. Set aside.
  4. Wash the coriander, retaining the stem if tender. Set aside.
  5. Wash the basil leaves and set aside.
  6. Now work on the vegetables.
  7. Peel and crush the garlic.
  8. Peel, wash and grate the ginger.
  9. Wash and slice the spring onion.
  10. Wash and chop the broccoli, mushroom and babycorn.
  11. When you are ready to cook the stirfry, heat the oil in a wok.
  12. Add the star anise and birds eye chilli.
  13. Stir for half a minute and add the garlic, ginger and half of the sliced spring onion.
  14. Stir for a minute.
  15. Add the broccoli, mushroom and baby corn along with some salt to taste.
  16. Stirfry on high heat for a few minutes till the vegetables are tender yet have a bite to them.
  17. Add the cooked pearl barley and basil leaves. Stirfry for a couple of minutes till heated through.
  18. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with strips of omelet, toasted peanuts and coriander.
  19. Enjoy hot.

goes very well with some soya sauce and chilli oil


2 thoughts on “Pearl Barley Stirfry, The Oriental Way”

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