Veggie and Barley bowl

You know those days? There are days when the sun is shining, you have all the time in world and you planned very nice activities, or just to relax on the couch. And then, there are those other days. Those days when it is pouring rain,  when you wake up at 4am because your cat just jumped on your belly during your REM phase and is making weird noises in the kitchen. So you get up, suspiciously turn on the light and realise there is a giant slug on the kitchen floor and you have no idea were it come from, as the house has been closed shut for several days because of the rain. So you pick it up, open the door being careful to keep it as far from your person as possible, and you go out in the rain to get rid of it. Then you realise also that probably the cat licked it, hence the noises and you spend the rest of the night worrying about how poisonous that horrible thing might have been and if you should take the cat to the vet in emergency. Yes, because  here in Australia you never know….. And then of course you have to wake up before 6 on the hottest and cloudiest summer day to go to work. Well, I call those days Tuesdays.

I generally don’t want to cook anything when I get home from those days, but if it happens I open one of my favourites and hilarious vegetarian cook books, and I take inspiration from it. In this case, the recipe was inspired by the book “Thug Kitchen: eat like you give a f**” . Yeah, that’s the title, and I really love it. The name of the recipe is 5 Spices Fried Rice with Sweet potatoes. Well minus the rice. And the sweet potatoes. And mine is actually vegetarian rather than vegan. With nutritional yeast. Ok, I was inspired by it but I added some personal touches.

I hope you’ll enjoy this guilt free pleasure as much as I did!

Ingredients (4 people):
  • 2 cups of pearl barley
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 mini solanato tomatoes punnet or 1 cherry tomatoes punnet
  • 200g hard feta
  • 1/2 bunch of spring onions (eschallots)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp Chinese 5-spices
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tbs tamari
  • Fresh basil

Cook the barley in salted boiling water for 30 minutes until tender. Drain it and let it cool aside.

Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a large pan, add the diced zucchini and the garlic and stir fry until the zucchini are golden brown. Add the nutritional yeast and cook for a couple of minutes until it releases its nutty flavour and they are slightly crispy.

Dice the cucumber, cut the tomatoes in 4 and salt them. Set them aside into a strainer so they loose a bit of extra water. Crumble the feta cheese. Slice the green part of spring onions.

Combine the 5 spices with the lime juice, tamari and rice vinegar. You can also add a splash of olive oil.

Stir-fry the barley, then mix together the veggies, feta and drizzle on top the tamari, lime and spices mix. Add some extra spring onion and there you go! You can have it warm or cold, I personally like it either way. I generally make a very big batch and store some for the following days.

I don’t want to overcomplicate such a simple dish, but I’ll leave you with Shelter from the Storm, by my beloved Bob Dylan.

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