Confession: I have a new love in my life.
Don’t tell my husband.
Oh, barley. Why didn’t you come into my life sooner? Why have you waited this long to make your delicious presence known to me? I mean, yes. I knew you existed before, but I had only eaten you in canned soup (particularly Progresso Beef and Barley – holllaaaa). You have now become a very delicious part of my weekly routine. Thanks bein’ you, barley. Thanks for bein’ you.
I’m going to stop addressing inanimate objects now and talk to you instead. Have I been living alone too long and gone a little crazy? Is that what writing an entire paragraph addressed to food means? Maybe so. I’ll embrace it.
So. Barley. Like I said before in my Annie to Barley letter, I have really only ever had barley in canned soups before (with the exception of this yummy recipe – throowwwwwwback, oh my goodness). Barley soups were always one of ma faves. I greedily grabbed them first while perusing the soup aisles at my grocery store. There may or may not have been a few times where I slid all the cans they had in stock into my cart. Apologies, other barley soup lovers out there, for stealing all the cans of deliciousness.
Well, it turns out that barley is SUPA yummy in many different at-home variations as well.
Last week, I posted a recipe for barley in this comforting, delicious Sausage, Vegetable, and Barley Stew, and this week we have a more unique variation. Barley fried rice, say whhaaaaaat. Yep. We went there.
You cook the barley just like you would brown rice, and you fry it up in a skillet with a bunch of other yumminess just like you would with fried rice. Yaassssss. It’s healthier AND it tastes way better, in my humble opinion. I usually make fried rice with brown rice because it is just WWAAYYY healthier than white rice. BUT, barley has a better texture (and flavor!) than brown rice, I think. It has more heartiness and bite to it where as brown rice can get a little mushy and boring sometimes. Barley can stand up to whatever you put it with, which I think it awesome. Go, barley, go!!
It’s not just the barley that makes this dish delicious, though. We have looooots of other flava-flaves goin’ on here that fill your mouth with a power bomb of Asian deliciousness. Like the marinated shrimp…the shriimmpppp…
What’s in it?
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Pepper flakes
Let that goodness marinate for just a little bit – it doesn’t need long! About thirty minutes will rock your little shrimps’ world. Cook those babies in a hot wok (or large skillet) for a few minutes until browned and drool-inducing. Remove them to a plate and move on with your tasty process.
We’ve got some onion, garlic, ginger, and carrots goin in there next. Onion, garlic, and ginger are the flavor base trio of Asian cooking, so the fact that we start off with that just means happy things for our end result.
Once your veggies have cooked down for a little bit, we add our barley (note on that below), frozen peas, some soy sauce, and a little sesame oil – stir it all together and sauté for a few more minutes, letting all those flavors marry together. THEN, at the end…you stir in a teaspoon of honey to add a tiny bit of sweetness to offset the saltiness from the soy sauce…soooooo good, people.
Barley note! You really, really should cook the barley the night before or earlier that day. When you make fried rice, no matter what grain you use, it is better to use cold, leftover rice/barley/quinoa/whatevs. It just fries up better and doesn’t add any extra moisture like it would if you used fresh cooked grains that are still wet from the cooking liquid. It’s really worth the extra pre-thinking step. Then again, if your life be cray cray and you forget/don’t have the time to do this, adding the fresh cooked barley will be yummy, too. It’s whatevs.
At the very end, chop up your shrimp and add it to the rest of your fried barley. Stir and eat until all of the problems in the world disappear.
Speaking of all the problems in the world disappearing, summaaaa breeaaakkk = T-minus three days woohoooooooooo. It’s going to be amazing people. It is going to be amazing.
And we are going to make some delicious food together, you and I. Get ready for it. And Seth will be home! So I can finally have my taste tester/recipe-writer-as-I-throw-things-together-in-my-kitchen person back ??. Boone and I will be so happy.
P.S. I’m totes filming one of those doggie/soldier reunion videos when he gets home. Don’t worry, if it’s good I’ll post it on here for your viewing pleasure.
Barley fried rice for the win. “All I do is win, win, win no matta what.” – – This barley.
For you 21 Day Fix people, here are your container amounts:
- 1 red container (shrimp)
- 2 yellow containers (barley)
- 1 green container (onion, carrot, peas)
- 2 teaspoons (sesame oil and coconut oil)
*The garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and honey are “free”*
Click here to see more 21 Day Fix recipes!
- 12 large white shrimp, peeled and deveined
- For the marinade:
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 crushed cloves of garlic
- 1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and roughly sliced
- For the fried barley:
- 2 cups COOKED barley (preferably left over - cook the night before or earlier that day so it's cold)
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- ⅓ cup frozen peas
- ¾ cups carrots (1½ - 2 carrots, depending on size), peeled and finely diced
- ½ onion (about 1 cup), finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch knob of ginger, finely minced (about 1 teaspoon when minced)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and add your shrimp - marinate for 30 minutes
- Meanwhile, prep your veggies and set aside
- When your shrimp is done marinating, heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a wok (or large skillet) over medium high - high heat
- Add the shrimp and sear on all sides until golden brown and cooked through - set aside
- Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and your onions, carrots, garlic, and ginger
- Cook this, stirring often, until veggies have softened
- Add your barley in and cook, stirring often, until barley has had a few minutes to fry in the pan
- Add your soy sauce, sesame oil, and frozen peas
- Stir to combine and cook for a few more minutes
- Meanwhile, dice up your shrimp into smaller chunks so you can get a little in every bite
- Add your shrimp and honey, stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
In the mood for more yummy, healthy Asian recipes? Check these out: