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Low sodium but flavorful way to cook barley and other grains

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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 tip...thanks...it 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.