Barley is a grain that is enjoyed by the young and old(er) in the family. I would usually boil barley drink for the family, especially on very warm days, to ‘cool’ it off. I always prepare the drink using the slow cooker. Just throw everything in the morning and voila, it will be done by tea time.

1 cup barley
2 litres water
10 candied winter melon strips
Pandan leaves

1. Rinse the barley and pandan leaves.
2. Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker, cook at high for 3hrs, or low for 6hrs. The longer you cook, the softer the grains and thicker the drink.
3. If you are using the grains for your baby’s food, you might like to sweeten the drink later.

There are times I would add a snow pear, or rose buds and cook together for some variations (the rose barley drink is one of my favourites!), or some lemon for a refreshing cup of lemon barley.

So there was once, I used too much barley grains that I decided to blend some for my nephew and add the rest of the blended grains to the drink to thicken it. My nephew loved the barley-pear puree and I thought of making the same for our little friend when she is old enough (I was still pregnant then.) Since then, I have been blending my barley grains so that nothing goes to waste. Now that C is taking solids, I have given her barley a few times, sometimes as a base on its own or mixed with other ingredients such as sweet potato.

Barley is a nutritious grain. It is high in fibre, contains several vitamins and minerals (B3, B1, iron magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, and etc) and is a wonderful source of antioxidants. However barley contains traces of gluten. For babies with family history of Celiac Disease, please check with your pd before introducing barley.

For a sweet meal, usually breakfast, I blend/mix fruits (purée) with cooked barley. IMPORTANT: YOU MIGHT LIKE TO BLEND THE BARLEY BEFORE SWEETENING THE BARLEY DRINK. Or cut down on the sweeter fruits to accompany the barley. One of babystingrui’s favourite is the pear rose cranberry barley, flavours inspired by the cranberry rose scones from starbucks which she loves too.

1 cup cooked barley (I used the ones that I cooked with rose buds for the drink)
1 snow pear (I used the ones that I cooked with the barley)
About 10 pieces of organic cranberries, finely chopped

1. Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend. For babies who enjoys texture, you can blend it roughly. Or blend half of the barley and mix the other half to the pureé.

For a savoury meal, you can prepare a barley risotto (for older babies, 8months and up). You can also use rice, pasta, kway tiao or other carbs.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Ingredients: for about 500ml
1 cup cooked barley (I use the ones that I cook for the drink)
1 strip (about 60g) chicken breast
2 mushrooms (I use 1 white, and 1 brown)
5-10 dried scallops
A handful of greens (I use kailan)

1. Chop the ingredients into smaller size and steam them. I steam all of them in Beaba.

2. Blend the ingredients when cooked.

3. Mix the pureé together with the barley. You have to ensure that barley very soft. If not you can blend it roughly to make it easier for your baby to digest.

Besides puree and risotto, you can also add barley to your stew or soups, both as a thickener and to increase the nutritional values. You might like to check out other dishes that use barley to introduce to your own dinner menu and your baby’s. Have fun!

Other posts in this series of Introducing Solids:
Introducing Solids
She Eats What We Eat
Oats to Joy
Storing Baby Food

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