It’s Cold Over Here.

Finally it rained in Luanda. Not the torrential rain like what I’ve witnessed in 2010, but it has started to drizzle. Every day a little bit more water drops from the sky. It hardly rained the entire year last year and seldom this early in the year. To many people, rain means they can collect water for household usage. It also means traffic. But when it rains heavily, those people living on shaky grounds unfit for any housing will be at risk of landslide. Many slums are built on this. And occasionally, you’ll hear about the maid or driver or family of so and so died from being electrocuted or land slide.

As far as South East Asian cuisine goes, I don’t know if Barley is ever used in savory dishes. Barley is known to be good for your body, it helps restore the yin-yang imbalance in your body especially if you’ve eaten lots of fried dishes. I like barley on the rocks, which is the fancy way to say Ice Barley. But here I’m making the basic soup dish (50% onion, 25% carrots, 25% celery) and instead of using orzo or lentils or other grains, I’m using barley. To offset the many spring rolls I’ve made the past few days. I’m making it the vegetarian way … dinner should be lighter than breakfast or lunch, right?

.. but of course someone will always ask, “Baby, where’s the meat?”

So for his version, I added bacon.

VEGETABLE BARLEY SOUP
(adapted from Feasts and Fotos)
serve 2-3

1/2 cup barley, washed and drained
1 medium carrot, cut small
1 to 1.5 celery, cut small – roughly about the same quantity of carrot
1 medium onion, cut small – roughly double the quantity of carrot
2 tbsp sliced mushroom
2 tbsp frozen peas
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1.5 tsp tomato paste
0.5 tsp paprika paste
1 glass of red wine
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp OO

  • In a pot, heat up the OO over medium-high heat and sweat the oinions, celery and the carrot for 2-3 mins. Add in the mushroom.
  • Once the vegetables have turned soft, add in the tomato paste, paprika paste and the thyme. Stir and mix.
  • Add in the red wine and scrape the grits off the bottom. Wait till the alcohol has evaporated and the wine has reduced, add in the vegetable stock, bay leaf and the barley.
  • Lower the heat, cover the pot and stir occasionally. Cook until barley is tender.
  • Add in the frozen peas in the last 2-3 mins of cooking.
  • Fish out the bay leave, season and serve immediately.

Like any other grains or pasta, barley absorbs water if you don’t eat immediately. So if you have any left overs, add more stock while reheating and adjust the seasoning if needed. I added a splash of tabasco in mine.

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