I’ve written before of my love for Korean style barley tea (Mugicha). I’d heard it was pretty easy to make so I decided to give it a go. I combined what I learned about making it from various online sources, as well as some info I picked up from Alton Brown on his recent Good Eat’s episode on barley.
First I dry roasted the barley in a skillet. I wasn’t sure exactly how much to roast them, so I let them go until they got nice and browned, removing from heat just before they were about to burn.
The roasted barley then went into 2 liters of boiling water, continued to boil for about 3 minutes, then was removed from the heat and left to steep. I also added in about a quarter cup of agave nectar and half a lemons worth of juice.
After steeping for half an hour, I strained the liquid from the barley and set it aside to cool. The cooked barely looked and smelled really good too, I’ll get back to that in minute.
And here’s the result! It came out pretty good for my first try, though it wasn’t exactly like I wanted it to be. I didn’t like the lemon, or maybe I just used too much of it. The lemon idea came from Alton Brown (damn you, Alton!)… next time I make this I’ll leave out the lemon all together and add some in afterwards if I think it needs any. Also the tea had taken on a bit more of the roasted flavor than I would have like, so maybe I did let the barley roast for too long after all. It didn’t taste burned, but the taste had crossed over from a delicate tea flavor to more of a roasted coffee flavor.
Now back to the cooked barley. When cooking barley to eat it should be cooked longer than the half hour I boiled this batch for, but because it was left to steep in the hot water for a while, it got cooked through and was only slightly “al dente”. It had a wonderful nutty scent and the taste of sweet agave nectar had been cooked right in, so instead of wasting it I decided to make a hot cereal out of it.
I added in some rice milk, cinnamon and drizzled on a little bit more agave… and this turned out to be one of the tastiest late night breakfasts I’ve ever accidentally invented by way of making something else.