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Jan 10, 2010 12:15 PM

Low sodium but flavorful way to cook barley and other grains

I've been boiling barley in low-sodium chicken broth but I'd like to use less sodium than that, but still make the barley or brown rice flavorful. How do you cook your grains? Thanks.

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  1. I've been thinking about this...I usually bake my brown rice and barley according to Alton Brown's recipes...just love how they come out! But, I always CUT the kosher salt he calls for...and what I do is use my grains with other yummy items that are vehicles for flavor...does this make any sense? In other words, I rarely eat just barley or brown rice by themselves...the other night, I sauteed some fresh crushed garlic in olive oil...then I added a bunch (couple of handfuls) of fresh spinach, let that wilt, then I added some garlic chili sauce to that and finished it with a little orange juice and spritzed it with Bragg's Liquid Aminos (tastes like soy sauce)...had that over the brown rice and man, was I happy. And the barley, I usually add that to some kind of flavorful mushroom concoction...varies all the time, but I think actually cooking the grains doesn't have to be so flavorful but putting them WITH another food is the way to add flavor.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Val

      "I sauteed some fresh crushed garlic in olive oil"
      you can do that (i like to add minced onions or shallots too) and then saute the raw rice or barley in it for a few minutes before cooking it. adds a ton of flavor to the grains.

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Good might help boychucker also!

        1. re: Val

          Thanks, Val and ghg! Some good tips for me to try!

          1. re: Boychucker

            I sprinkle a bit of lemon juice in with the grain. It works really well for rice, and for beans. I haven't tried barley

    2. finely diced mushrooms and onions, cooked down to remove excess liquid...then a shot of dry sherry to deglaze, cook until it evaporates...mix in to the grains about 5 minutes before they are done.

      1. I like to use different herbs but especially bay leaf, and I often put in large pieces of veg that I pull out when fluffing the grain (the dog gets these). The soaking liquid from re-hydrating dried mushrooms is very flavorful, and of course homemade stock can be as low in sodium as you want.

        1 Reply
        1. re: just_M

          Has anyone experimented with adding acid and sugar? When I make sushi rice, it tastes extremely salty with just a little pinch of salt. I assume it's because of the vinegar and sugar.