Who does not love a grain pilaf? – and we have a number of recipes. Each one is a variation on a theme. I love this recipe because it has a smoky flavour from the toasting of the barley and the spices. It is nutty and very delicious. Yoghurt is a common accompaniment, and today we combine tahini with it for a perfect dressing.
Toasted Barley, Pistachio and Barberry Pilaf with Yoghurt-Tahini Dressing
ingredients for 4 – 6 people
400g pearl barley
2l vegetable stock or water
1 Tblspn fennel seeds, toasted
1.5 Tblspn sesame seeds, toasted
1 tspn cumin seeds, toasted
scant 0.25 tspn turmeric powder
juice and zest of 1 – 1.5 small lemons or limes (taste as you add until the balance is achieved)
handful of mint and parsley, finely chopped
5 Tblspn pistachios, toasted
2 Tblspn raisins
3 Tblspn barberries (available from Middle Eastern shops)
a drizzle of good quality olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
1.5 tspn tahini
A pinch of dried mint
fresh chilli, chilli paste or harissa, to taste
Heat 1 Tblspn of the olive oil in a heavy-based pan and toast the barley until golden and aromatic. Add the stock or water. Simmer for 30 – 40 mins until the barley is tender. Add the rest of the ingredients with a drizzle of good quality olive oil. Season to taste.
Mix the tahini and mint into the yoghurt. For a little warmth, add some fresh chilli or harissa, to taste.
Serve the barley on a platter with the tahini yoghurt.
recipe notes and alternatives
Serve with roasted winter vegetables of your choice eg pumpkin, Jerusalem artichokes, fennel etc.
Add some za’atar to the salad, and reduce the amount of sesame seeds added. Or add za’atar to the yoghurt sauce in place of the dried mint.