Hato Mugi Risotto
Known as 'beauty pearls' in Asia because of this humble grain's ability to help the body to cleanse, hato mugi is a glorious whole grain that makes a great side dish on its own or combined with other grains. This version of risotto is creamy and richly flavored with a delightful texture.
5 cups dashi (vegetable stock)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 cup hato mugi barley, rinsed well
2 tablespoons plain almond or soy milk
2-3 stalks broccoli, tiny florets, stems peeled and diced
Prepare the dashi by bringing five cups of water to a boil with a 3-inch piece of kombu, 4-5 slices fresh ginger and a light seasoning of soy sauce. Reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes. The dashi will simmer all through the risotto cooking process, so keep the heat low.
Heat oil in a skillet and saute onion, with a pinch of salt, until limp, about 2 minutes. Add carrot, a pinch of salt and saute until shiny with oil. Add hato mugi and saute for 1 minute. By half cups, add dashi to barley, stirring frequently. Add more dashi only as it is absorbed into the grain. The risotto will cook for about 30 minutes, turning creamy, but the barley will still hold its shape.
While the barley cooks, bring a pot of water to a boil and blanche the broccoli stems and florets until crispy-tender and bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and set aside. When the risotto is ready, stir in soy milk and cooked broccoli. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Makes 4-6 servings.