Check out my foodie adventures at Foodspotting and Foodgawker

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vegan Hijiki Barley Salad

I have a childhood friend named Jamie. When we were young, Jamie and I spent many of our afternoons playing in a sandbox at her grandmother's house. We would stay in that sandbox for hours (creating all sorts of elaborate stories and role-playing adventures) until her grandma called us in for lunch. Being from Japan, her grandmother would make up lots of little dishes that, all together, would create a total sum of delicious. Maybe some broiled fish, some steamed rice, some sushi, some sunomono or namasu (pickled vegetables salads), some pickled daikon, a handful of sliced tangerines in a cute little flower shaped cup, some hard-boiled egg maybe. All arranged in dainty little ceramic plates and cups.

I love this style of eating (same prinicple goes for Spanish tapas!). Luckily, California--and San Francisco especially--has also cropped up with lots of "small plates" restaurants like Andalu and Cortez and Alembic.

I am lucky to work in the San Francisco financial district, which has a plethora of lunch options to cater to all sorts of clientele. And one of the best spots is grabbing some lunch at one of the vendors at the Ferry Building. I got the idea for this cold barley salad from the Japanese "deli" called Delica rf-1. Why you would name your restaurant Delica rf-1 escapes me, but I eat some potato korroke and forget all about the name.Barley really is an ideal grain--its nutty in flavor with a toothsome chewiness that is quite endearing. This salad is also packed with nutrients--hijiki is naturally rich in calcium, iron and fiber (for food safety reasons, be sure to buy the best quality you can find from a natural food store)!


* 3 or 4 radishes, shaved thin
* 1 cup pearl barley
* 1 cup shelled edamame
* 2-3 Tbsp. dried hijiki or arame (or mixture of both)
* Other optional additions: grated carrot, daikon, lotus root, arugula or mizuna lettuces, or cubed tofu


* 1 Tbsp. walnut oil (or other neutral oil)
* 1 tsp. sesame oil
* 3 tsp. miso paste
* 2 Tsbp. rice vinegar
* 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
* 2 Tbsp. Braggs (liquid aminos)
* 1 tsp. agave (or honey if you'd prefer)
* 3 Tbsp. mirin
* 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds


* Whisk togther all marinade ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
* Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. When cooked, barley expands to 4 times its size so you want the grains to have plenty of space to roll around! Cook the barley in boiling water for 35-40 minutes or until tender and chewy. Drain, rinse and place in a large mixing bowl.
* In a small dish, soak the dried seaweed for 10-15 minutes in warm water. Then boil in a small pot for about 2-3 minutes. Drain, rinse and roughly chop.
* Grab your bowl of barley and add in the shelled edamame, shaved radishes, and chopped seaweed (and any other ingredients you may want to add).
* Pour the marinade mixture over the salad and stir until mixed.

No comments: