Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Barley Tea (Mugicha)

I should have named my blog The Barley Blog... or Bearly Barley... or Barley and Me. You know why? Cuz I love Barley. It's so nutritious and versatile. Maybe I should name my baby Barley... Just kidding baby.

The Japanese believe that barley tea helps to extract impurities from the blood. The Chinese sometimes pair barley tea with heavy meals to aid digestion. It has also been used to treat nausea. And with all the different types of barley, the possibilities are endless. Just endless.

The following tea recipe is especially popular in Japan, Korea, and China. It has a very nutty, warming flavor and may take some getting used to. If you appreciate tea and all the health benefits that go with it, then you should love this. Some people make this tea so strong that it almost tastes like coffee. Crazy kids....

-2/3 cup pearl barley(Pearl barley is the most common form of barley for human consumption, unlike the hulled barley which is more nutritious and used in my Beef Barley soup)
-8 cups water

Preheat oven to 350. Spread the barley over a large baking tray and cook in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the barley is toasted and aromatic.

Transfer the barley to a large saucepan. Add the water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes or until the barley is very tender. Strain the tea into a large heatproof jug or teapot. Discard the barley. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly before serving. (I just spoon the liquid out with a ladle straight into cups and let it sit)

Not sure if this would be acceptable to a barley tea connoisseur, but I add a little honey to my cup and it's delicious.
Photos:Shawn Campbell

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