Most people have heard about the beneficial features of pearled barley. They adore the chewy texture and grainy consistency of this dish. However, most of us have never thought about cooking barley in a rice cooker, often using familiar stove tops to add this healthy grain to soup and stew.
Continue reading this article to know how to cook barley in a rice cooker, how to make the cooking process easier, and get the best nutrients out of this grain.
How to cook pearl barley in the most delicious way ever?
Why does a rice cooker be your best friend?
There are several ways for cooking barley. Although perfectly cooked barley grain can be achieved using a stovetop and an instant pot, the most convenient way for cooking barley is using a rice cooker. Not only it speeds up the cooking process, but it also helps to achieve the best ratio of nutrients and water in cooked grains.
Using a stovetop or an instant pot when cooking barley
It does not guarantee the perfect texture, as it is hard to control the amount of water and temperature. Depending on the type of pot you have, there is a huge possibility that you will find burnt bits of barley in your dish.
Before cooking, soak barley in water. So, the best advice is to use a rice cooker to speed up the process of cooking.
Advantages of using a rice cooker to cook barley:
The best thing about using a rice cooker is that it allows you to cook pearled barley and hulled barley just like brown rice or any other grain.
As you put it in a rice cooker, you do not need to stir the grains constantly because the barley cooks on its own without the need to monitor the rice cooker. They will not stick to the sides of the pot because a rice cooker has a non-stick surface of the rice cooker pot.
Moreover, you do not need to check the barley every second to see if it has finished cooking. A rice cooker will automatically switch off, which prevents the burning of the grains.
It also makes a rice cooker pot easier to clean than a usual pot. Even though the rice cooker pearled barley is ready, cooked barley will stay warm because of the rightly chosen settings.
How to use a rice cooker to cook barley?
Preparation before using a rice cooker
When cooking any grains in a rice cooker, especially barley, it needs a small preparation beforehand. Make sure to soak the barley overnight.
Both hulled barley and hull-less barley must be prepared this way before cooking. This will separate the residual powder from the whole grain and allow it to expand. Do not forget to see the volume of your rice cooker to cook barley in the right amount. This recipe is for three personas (in the ratio: of 1 cup for 1 person).
No matter what barley you decide to use, pearl barley or hulled barley, rinse the soaked overnight barley in cold water. The water must run clear before starting to cook barley.
Measure the needed amount of either pearl barley or hulled barley according to the correct ratio of 3-to-1 (three cups of water to one cup of barley) to achieve softer results. Do not forget that the barley expands at least three times when cooked. So, be careful when calculating how much barley you want to add to your rice cooker.
A step-by-step guide to cooking barley
- Put the 3 cups of rinsed barley and 6 cups of water in a rice cooker pot;
- Place one tablespoon of salt and any other spices, broth, and herbs, depending on your taste (a handy tip is to add a pinch of black pepper or paprika to give extra flavor to barley);
- Give a mixture of barley, water, and spices a gentle stir for a few seconds;
- Place the rice cooker pot into the rice cooker and close the lid so that it is fully sealed;
- Turn on the rice cooker, set the brown rice setting or the right setting that is available in the manual of your rice cooker;
- Wait until the rice cooker turns off;
- Switch the rice cooker to the setting “warm” and leave for 10 minutes before opening the lid. During this time, cooked barley will absorb any excess water;
- Stir the cooked barley with a wooden spoon to achieve the perfect texture of the grain and serve.
Pearl barley vs. hulled barley
The cooking time
It will take more or less 30 – minutes to cook pearl barley and 50 – minutes for hulled barley. Nevertheless, it is longer to cook, and the general recommendation is to cook hulled barley.
Hulled barley is much more nutritious than pearl barley
As it is a whole grain, it has an indigestible outer husk and bran layer. Nevertheless, it all depends on your taste. A rice cooker makes both pearl barley and hulled barley a delicious dish to serve.
Moreover, it is definitely a more nutritious and filling food than many other grains, such as brown rice, white rice, buckwheat, rye, etc.
Why do you need to choose to cook barley?
It is cheap
It is one of the most popular grains available on the American food market. So, you can easily find it on the shelves of your supermarket.
It is a natural ingredient
It is suitable for a vegetarian diet. Many recipes of barley salads, barley stew, and more can be added to your recipe book.
It has important microelements
Being a whole grain, barley is rich in fiber, vitamin of group B, magnesium, and other important microelements that are significant in our everyday diet.
High fiber content, specifically an insoluble fiber that is found in barley content, decreases the risk of developing gallstones. At least five grams of intake of natural insoluble fiber may help to prevent gallstone formation by around ten percent.
Also, barley is perfect as a natural prevention of many other serious diseases such as colon cancer and heart disease because of the group of antioxidants called lignans.
Barley gluten-free compound
Elimination of the protein
Unfortunately, some productions of barley sell it as not gluten-free. However, there are companies that use a special technique to eliminate the protein gluten from barley.
Fermentation and hydrolysis processes
These processes are helpful in breaking the gluten protein into pieces, which means that the amount of gluten left is extremely low.
After measuring the amount of gluten protein in the grain, the company checks the threshold of gluten-free products and labels it as “gluten-free”. Therefore, people who follow a gluten-free diet might consider trying barley as a new dish in their diet.
Colon cancer prevention
The combination that is found to be the most effective in preventing colon cancer and other diseases related to the colon is insoluble fiber and antioxidants. Since barley has both in its compound, it is a perfect food that can save the life of a person.
Heart disease prevention
Barley is also found to be one of the richest in its percentage of microelements that are perfect to improve the health of your heart. One of these is beta-glucans.
From biology classes, some may be familiar with their positive effect in reducing the LDL cholesterol that causes blocks in our blood vessels. High LDL cholesterol is known for being the major risk factor for heart disease and even heart attack. So, including barley in your everyday diet protects your heart from disastrous health problems.
Concluding thoughts and related questions
As we now have discussed different types of barley, such as hulled barley, pearl barley, and pot barley, know how to cook barley in a rice cooker, and what are the positive effects of including barley in your diet, here is a quick recap of the questions you might still have.
Can you use a rice cooker to cook barley?
There are many other ways to cook barley, such as cooking on the stovetop or instant pot.
However, cooking barley in a rice cooker is the most efficient method. You can set the timer and leave barley to cook, while at the same time preparing something else on the stovetop.
Can you use a rice cooker just to cook pearl barley?
No, it can be used to cook many other types of barley. For instance, hulled barley, hull-less barley, barley grits, and barley flakes. Since each is different, you also need to find the right ratio of water to cook each.
Because barley flakes are dried and have a larger surface area, they absorb the water much more quickly than pearl barley. So, you need less water and less time for the barley to be ready.
You can use milk and add a little bit of water to cook barley grits and barley flakes. Adding one cup of milk will not only make a chewy texture, but also barley will have a porridge-like consistency that can be served with fruits for breakfast.
How long do I need to cook barley in a rice cooker?
It all depends on the type of barley you choose and the type of rice cooker you have.
On average, it takes 30 minutes to prepare barley in a rice cooker. Barley flakes need about 15 minutes to be cooked in milk, and barley with husk takes at least 50 minutes.
What is the ratio of water to barley?
It’s always more liquid and less solid components. For one cup of barley, you will need approximately three cups of water. For cooking flakes, try adding 1.5 to 2 cups of water or milk, so the barley does not become a soup.
Does barley need to be soaked before cooking?
Yes! Do not forget to soak the barley in water overnight to let the barley expand. This way it is going to be cooked faster, and the flavor is much better. However, when cooking in the form of flakes, one of the handy tips is not to soak it. Rinsed barley can be instantly cooked in milk or water.
Is there any other way how to cook barley in a rice cooker?
There are many other recipes that you can find for how to cook barley in a rice cooker. If your rice cooker settings include the “soup” setting, you can add other ingredients, such as carrots, potatoes, basil, etc., to create an amazing dish for the whole family.
Another example is to cook barley in a rice cooker with vegetables to serve as a stew.