Coconut barley (a.k.a. milk rice without milk and rice)

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Coconut barley (a.k.a. milk rice without milk and rice)

Did you know that barley is not only the main ingredient of beers, but it’s also a valuable and tasty grain? It’s a quite versatile cereal grain, you can serve it as a garnish or make a delicious dessert. Furthermore, it’s a rich source of fiber and minerals like manganese, selenium, copper, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin and vitamin B1. That means it’s good to control your cholesterol levels and protects your intestines.

The idea of milk rice without rice comes from my father. He’s not a very good cook – not sure if you would laugh or cry if you knew what I had to suffer as a child. I guess behind every good cook there is a story, well, this is mine. My parents could not cook very well. But my dad adores barley. I altered his recipe slightly to make a healthy, vegan and well, a quite good-looking dessert.


 BARLEY PUDDING with STRAWBERRY CHIA JAM

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of barley
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of coconut milk
  • about 1/2 cup of coconut flower sugar  ( or regular sugar)

Preparation time: 1.5 hours (cooking)

Barley takes a long time to cook properly. I start cooking it in water first. Two cups are enough to make the grains softer. When the water is finished, I add coconut milk. One cup at the time. Cook it until the grains are soft and the coconut milk gets a creamy consistence. Pour it into small glasses and chill it in the fridge. Or on the balcony, if it’s as cold as we have it in Germany right now.

Barley Glass

Strawberry, chia and barley locked up in a glass.

 

To pep it up a bit, I made a jam out of strawberries, brown sugar and chia seeds. (2.5 cups of chopped strawberries, 2-3 tbsp of sugar and 2 tbsp of chia). Layer barley pudding and jam until the glass is full, and pour chocolate sauce on the top. It’s ok to be served warm, but it’s even better after a few hours in the fridge.
It’s really a taste out of this world, I find hardly any words to describe it.

Please go ahead and try!!

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Gluten free Easter

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We’re wishing you a happy Easter with these gluten free chia bunnies!!

GF Pogácsa Bunnies

GF Pogácsa Bunnies

The dough is a traditional Hungarian pogácsa dough, a bit altered. It was our first experiment with gluten free flour. Actually quite okay, I would say. And here comes the secret tip:

The making of...

The making of…

Layered Sauerkraut in Szekler style

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Layered Sauerkraut in Szekler style

Even though the above recipe might sound quite German, I can assure you that it has nothing to do with the boring Sauerkraut – Knödel combo. It is a recipe made up by my mum and inspired by a Transylvanian cabbage dish. I made it first when living in Madrid I got hold of a piece of Hungarian smoked cheese, some sour cream and Sauerkraut. It had its debut on my very first Cena a la Húngara, my friends from Spain, Venezuela, Guatemala, China and last but not least, Hungary – loved it!

This dish became so popular that I have to prepare it from time to time for my friends, and also to strengthen my Hungarian identity. :P

Hungarian Dinner in Madrid

Hungarian Dinner in Madrid

On our pre-Christmas trip to Transylvania I fell in love with the beautiful artisan clay pots we found on every market. I wanted to have them all, but as I have my dear husband, who is good at pulling me back to the earth, we just returned with two of them.

clay pots transylvania

Clay pots in Cluj

These pots, similarly to the Moroccan tagine or the Mexican olla de barro, are famous for a traditional slow way of cooking, thus preserving more aroma. If you have any clay pot’s, you probably now that it’s sensitive to sudden changes of temperature. You might also want to soak the pot into water before using, so that it doesn’t extract water from the food.


 TRANSYLVANIAN PLEATED SAUERKRAUT

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kg sauerkraut (choose one without vinegar)
  • 1 cup of barley or rice
  • 300g (smoked) tofu
  • 300g (smoked) cheese (optional)
  • 3 dl of sour cream
  • 1 big onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp of powdered paprika (or 3 tbsp piros arany)
  • oil
  • salt, pepper

Preparation time: 2 hours

Secret ingredients: paprika powder from my grandmother and Hungarian smoked cheese

I will tell you the truth. I was a bit lazy to investigate how much time and water it needs to cook the above dish in a clay pot. So I cheated! (Ups). I parboiled everything and then let it wobble for another hour in the oven.

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This is the vegan version.

 

Cut the onions and saute it in oil. When it’s transparent, add the powdered paprika and some pepper. You might also use some chilli powder if you like it hot. Quickly add 1/2 cup of water as well, as the paprika turns bitter very fast. Then add the Sauerkraut and stew until it becomes soft. Watch out, as Sauerkraut is pretty salty in itself, you do not need to add a lot of salt. Add pressed garlic at the end.

Boil barley with some salt. You may also use rice. Chop or just tear tofu into smaller parts.

And now put it all together. I sometimes just mix it all and put it into a baking pan. Or one can layer it nicely: one thin layer barley, then one layer sauerkraut, and some smoked tofu, then again barley, sauerkraut… Put it into the oven and give it about an hour so that the flavours mix properly.

Finally, top it with some sour cream and/or smoked cheese and put it back to the oven for another 10 minutes, without the lid.

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Pleated Sauerkraut with smoked cheese.

 

And voilá, ready it is, the perfect comfort food for the cold months! Serve with some bread and pickles. If it’s too much, don’t worry, it’s one of those dishes that are even better the following day.