Oh, I did not abandon everything and vanish! I took off on a short, road trip to Pittsburgh. The route was beautiful and the weather, extremely pleasant. It is nice to take a break from routine as monotony slows down the gusto. Relaxing in a hotel room and getting a little pampered is good for sanity too. Erasing cooking and cleaning out of my mind for a while did wonders to the spirit! I really enjoyed the restaurant food and all the idle chattering. Yes, I am back with renewed energy!
Coming back, all the regular chores and the stifling weather made me turn to light food. But there is always a good excuse to include a dessert! This is a summer pudding with barley simmered in coconut milk and chilled to keep our cool!
The health benefits of barley are amazing. It is very high in fiber and can lower cholesterol. I have become a hard core fan of barley because of its versatility and nutty flavour. This is a simple pudding using coconut and mango flavors to go with robust barley.
There are two kinds of barley, pot and pearl barley. After removing the inedible hull the kernel is polished. Less polished barley is pot barley and on further polishing and removing the bran, it becomes pearl barley.
Normally, pearl barley is used in desserts. As pot barley has more bran I decided to go with it.
I make rice pudding as a dessert with meals, quite frequently. So I adopted the same method to make this pudding. I wanted to add a delicious fruit to make it special. What tropical fruit is better than mangoes to reflect this weather? Ripe mangoes were spreading its sweet smell in my kitchen and demanding immediate attention. So mango, here we go!
- ½ cup barley
- 2 ½ cups water
- ½ cup dark molasses or dark brown sugar + more to garnish
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup thick coconut milk or coconut cream
- 2 cardamom pods
- a pinch salt
- 1 ripe mango
Extracting coconut milk
- Take 1/2 coconut and grate it.
- Pulse coconut in a blender adding 1/4 cup water until it is crushed.
- Place a sieve on a bowl and squeeze crushed coconut with your hand over the sieve.
- Strain and collect the thick milk. Set aside.
- Add 1 cup water and pulse the coconut again to make a paste.
- Pass this paste through the sieve and press to extract thin coconut milk.
- Discard the pulp.
Instead of this whole process, open a can of coconut milk to use the milk and cream that floats on top.
- Cook barley in 2 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt or pressure cook it until 4 whistles.
- Take a heavy bottom pan and heat barley with thin coconut milk.
- When it boils lower the heat and allow it to thicken.
- Add dark molasses or make a syrup with brown sugar and mix with barley.
- Boil and reduce it to a creamy consistency.
- Crush cardamom pods and take out the black seeds and powder it in a mortar.
- Add cardamom powder to barley.
- Mix well and add thick coconut milk.
- Take it off the heat immediately.
- Cool this to room temperature.
- Wash and remove skin of mango and cut flesh off the pit.
- Take half of the mango and chop into large chunks.
- Puree it in a blender into a smooth paste.
- Cut the remaining into smaller pieces.
- Assemble pudding in a bowl by adding a ladle of mango puree and then the barley pudding.
- Garnish with molasses and mango pieces.
Add garnish according to taste. I used very sweet mangoes and it was delicious.
This dessert is rich with the taste of coconut milk, the nutty barley and the sweetness of molasses. Mango is not a good fruit to cook as heat will change its flavor and taste, so I left it uncooked in this pudding. Mango and cardamom merges well to create a divine taste.
Barley adds a chewy texture to this creamy pudding. If you double this recipe and save some in the fridge it will make a wonderful chilled dessert the next day. Add fresh mango puree and mango pieces to it. On a hot day, when served cold, this pudding is the best!