Not sure about you but since the start of Circuit Breaker, the weather has been rather erratic and humid. Hence, I thought of cooking some barley water aka yi mi shui (薏米水), a very easy to make drink to prevent the body from becoming too heaty and at the same time stay hydrated with a drink that is full of health benefit.
There are 2 different kinds of barley that can be found in the market, the chinese barley and the holland barley. The Chinese barley which is also known as Job’s tears or coix seed is used in TCM for its cooling and diuretic function. But that is not all, Chinese Barley is also good to to reduce water retention, resolve dampness in the body and to detox. While the holland barley aka ang moh barley or pearl barley has a similar health benefits, it is said to taste better but too much might cause phlegm. Hence, I like to mix both of them when I am cooking barley water. Here are the ingredients needed to make barley water for 2 pax, you can get these ingredients in either supermarket or wet market in Singapore.
40g Chinese barley
40g Holland barley
1.5 litres of cold water
Rock sugar to taste
1 stalk of pandan leaves, rinsed and tied into a knot
and/or 1 Dried Tangerine
and/or 1 to 3 Dried Mandarin Peels (陳皮)
and/ or juice of 1 lemon
and/or 3 to 5 of Candied Wintermelon
While pandan leaves has the benefit of removing toxins and unhealthy substances from your liver and body, Dried Tangerine and Mandarin Peels add a refreshingly flavor to the barley water and helps to stop coughing.
1) Boil the cold water in a pot
2) Rinse the barley and add to the pot when it started boiling
3) Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes, stir occasionally
4) Add in the rock sugar to taste and add in the and/or Dried Tangerine, Dried Mandarin Peels and/ or candied wintermelon at the same time
5) Add in the pandan leaves and simmer for about 5 minutes.
6) Turn off the fire and serve in a glass
It is normal that the barley water is slightly cloudy and don’t overcook the pandan leaves as it will give a slightly bitter aftertaste. Oh yes, if the barley water become too thick during simmering, add in some hot water. The barley water can be served warm or taken chilled with a few drops of lemon juice to taste (optional) for extra boost of vitamin C.
The barley seeds can either be eaten as a topping for salad or use as an ingredient for risotto, stews and soup. Remember to separate the barley from the barley water and store them in the fridge in separate containers to prevent the barley from swelling up too much. This is a really simple recipe especially on a hot day to as a thirst quencher. I love you enjoy it as much as I do. Stay safe and healthy.