Spring Barley Soup
This soup is as cozy as mushroom-barley soup and as vibrant as spring. Chewy barley, crisp asparagus and peas lay in a broth bolstered by umami-rich soy sauce and miso. Hits of fresh ginger and vinegar enliven the mix. Feel free to swap in other vegetables that catch your eye: Add leeks and hearty greens with the barley, and quicker-cooking vegetables like sliced turnips or snap peas with the asparagus. For more protein, add cubed soft or firm tofu to bowls, or stir a beaten egg into the pot as you would for hot and sour soup.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1tablespoon toasted sesame oil, coconut oil or olive oil
- 6garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- ¾cup pearled barley
- 1tablespoon soy sauce, plus more to taste
- 1bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), tough ends trimmed, stalks thinly sliced 1/4-inch thick, tips left whole
- 1cup fresh or frozen shelled peas, edamame or fava beans
- 3tablespoons yellow or white miso
- 1tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1(1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 1 tablespoon)
Step 1In a large pot or Dutch oven, add the oil and garlic, and heat over medium. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and softened but not browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Add 6 cups of water, the barley and 2 teaspoons soy sauce. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the barley is tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Step 2Add the asparagus and peas, and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
Step 3In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, stir a spoonful of the soup into the miso until dissolved. Pour into the pot, along with the rice vinegar, ginger and remaining 1 teaspoon soy sauce; stir to combine. Taste for salt level and adjust with more soy sauce. (Leftovers will keep for up to 2 days; rewarm over low heat, thin with water, and add vinegar and soy sauce to taste.)