Help me find yellow barley
March 24, 2007 12:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for yellow barley...or something that looks a lot like barley, only yellow, and might or might not be in a Korean market.

A few years back, a family friend served me a delicious side dish with what appeared to be yellow barley in it. It was bright yellow like a sunflower; it was a little chewier than the regular barley I've had before, it didn't stick together, and it had a nice nutty flavor. She said she got it at her local Korean market and hadn't seen it anywhere else. I had a craving for it today and went looking for it at the Korean market near me, but found only garden-variety barley. Anyone know if this stuff goes by another name, or where I might be able to find it? Am I barking up the wrong tree or do I just need to try another Korean place?
posted by clavicle to Food & Drink (2 answers total)
maybe spelt? it looks like barley to me though it's not bright yellow, maybe spelt with some sort of seasoning mixed in?
posted by yodelingisfun at 3:04 PM on March 24, 2007

Have you considered that maybe the barley itself is not yellow, but is tinted by spices? Spices that turn food bright yellow include saffron and turmeric (turmeric gives mustard its yellow color). Turmeric is more common in Asian foods than saffron, as I understand it, and is often used in curries to give it that mustard-yellow curry color.

Is it possible that your friend served you some sort of pre-packaged barley dish that came with regular barley and seasoning that included one of these spices? Then when she said she got it at the Korean market and hadn't seen it anywhere else, she could have been referring to the pre-packaged item and not the barley itself, while you thought she was referring to special yellow barley.

A cursory Google search doesn't show any Korean recipes featuring barley and saffron or turmeric, just middle eastern. If the dish you had is some sort of classic or traditional dish, you might go to your nearest large public library, university library, or large bookstore and see if such a dish is included in Korean cookbooks. The librarian can help you find Korean cookbooks. (As a librarian, I can't speak for bookstore clerks!)

Of course it may not be a strictly Korean dish. If you don't find it in Korean cookbooks, I would recommend trying barley recipes until you find something that approximates the dish your friend made. Try a Google search with the words barley, turmeric (or saffron), and recipe. There are also barley cookbooks: The Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Cookbook by Edyth Young Cottrell, The Whole Grain Cookbook by A.D. Livingston, and The New Book of Whole Grains by Marlene Anne Bumgarner.

Good luck...!
posted by gillyflower at 8:56 AM on March 26, 2007

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