South-east asian stir-fried barley with chicken and cashew nuts

South-east asian stir-fried barley with chicken and cashew nuts

By
From
The Art Of The Larder
Photographer
Mike Lusmore

Barley makes a welcome change from rice in a stir-fry. Enthusiasts of the outlandishly popular Thai dish pad Thai might recognize certain similarities.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
125g barley, pot or pearl, rinsed
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1-2 teaspoons chilli flakes or use fresh chilli, to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces, (or use prawns if you prefer)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bunch spring onions, finely sliced
150g preserved radish or kimchi, sliced, (optional, but easy enough to locate)
200g beansprouts, (or use peas)

To garnish

Quantity Ingredient
40g cashews (or peanuts), roughly chopped
a small bunch fresh mint, leaves roughly chopped
a small bunch fresh basil, leaves roughly chopped, (Thai basil is best, but not essential)
1 lime, cut into wedges
fish sauce, to taste
chilli flakes, to taste
or Homemade chilli sauce, to taste

Method

  1. Put the barley into a large saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water (approximately 1 part barley to 3 parts water), then bring to the boil over a high heat. Skim off any froth that surfaces, then reduce the heat and simmer until the grains are tender. Top up the water level if necessary and if the water becomes too starchy. Add salt to taste near the end of the cooking time. The barley is ready when it is tender but still chewy. It may have absorbed all the cooking water – if not, drain well. Pearl will cook much more quickly than pot.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, combine the tamarind, fish sauce and sugar in a small pan and bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar. Add chilli flakes to taste and put to one side.
  3. In large pan, ideally a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over a high heat. Add the chicken pieces (or prawns) and stirfry for 5–7 minutes, then add the garlic to the pan for the final 2 minutes of cooking time.
  4. Add the cooked barley and stir-fry for an additional 3 minutes, making sure that the chicken is cooked through (cut a piece in half; it should be piping hot throughout). Remove the stir-fried barley and chicken mixture from the pan and keep warm on a plate.
  5. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and fry half the cashews for a minute, then add the spring onions, preserved radish (or kimchi), if using, and beansprouts (or peas) and fry for 1 minute to combine.
  6. Return the barley-chicken mixture to the wok and stir in the sauce, then stir-fry for 1 minute more and remove from the heat.
  7. Sprinkle the stir-fry with the remaining cashews and all the herbs and serve at the table with the lime wedges, and fish sauce and chilli sauce to taste.
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