Barley congee or jau ki ghaat : a light cooling, healing drink for summers
Barley congee is a thinner version of the famous Rajasthani Jau ki ghaat. Jau ki ghaat is a raita like dish that is made the same way but is kept thicker so it makes a dip like consistency. Both the versions of this cooked barley flour drink or congee are extremely good for gut health. Barley is considered cooling for the system and toning up the GI tract, cleansing it at the same time.
We often eat for social reasons and indulge a bit more. Some refined carbs and refined oils inevitably find their way to our stomach when we eat out or when the food preparation is not under our control. On such occasions we eat bigger portions sometimes or just too many dishes for the comfort of the gut. So the next day should be a relaxing time for the digestive tract. Something light that soothes the inflammatory effects of badly prepared food or poorly chosen portions. Or simply bad combinations of food.Whatever that disturbs the harmony in our digestive system.
Some meals are simply inflammatory to the system. Very high sugar in one meal is one example when the meal turns inflammatory, especially when the sugars are prepared with refined flours and refined oils too. We can undo the damage to an extent.
Barley congee helps doing just that. Damage control. And much more. A detailed post is intended, stay tuned for that.
I am going to tell you how simple is this congee to make. I am almost forced to write this recipe as one of the my clients couldn't understand the cooking procedure and the congee turned out an unpalatable experience. I would never want someone to turn away from a yummy solution to such recurring problematic meals we have to have sometimes.
So the step wise recipe or better to say a how to procedure of the Barley congee is here. All done in a few steps in microwave.
Two tbsp of Barley flour is all that is required to make 2 huge mugs of this congee. Here is the flour in a microwave safe jug . A carafe can be used too.
Add half a cup of plain water to this flour and mix well so no lumps are there. Now add a cup of water again to make it thinner.
This can be done in a thick bottom pan too and then cooked on stove top till the mixture boils and becomes transluscent.
Just like this.
This pictures is after a 2 minutes boil in the microwave. Cook it till the slurry becomes frothy and rises in the jug. It looks like this.
Cook again till it gets frothy and rises till the neck of the jug..
Now add plain cold water to this slurry to make 2 mugs full of this drink.
Add salt to taste and any seasoning you like.
Chaat masala or roasted cumin powder (bhuna jeera) makes a tasty blend with salt n pepper.
Use the seasoning according to the mood of the day I would say, you need different spices on different days. Isn't it?
In my case it was a chutney made using mint, spring onion, green chilly and salt. Two tsp of this chutny in my barley congee makes my tummy happy.
The same drink can be converted into a great pro and prebotic health drink by adding some natural yogurt to it and let it sit on the kitchen platform for about 12-14 hours.
A slight lacto fermentation of the Barley congee makes it a lovely tasty gut healthy drink. Thinned down to your wanted consistency at the time of consumption. Almost like buttermilk.
Whenever there is constipation, I recommend fermenting this drink using natural whey. The whey that is the byproduct of making paneer cheese. It works well for making the gut movements ease out. Seasonings of this drink can be any one of the above mentioned.
Now you see how versatile is this Congee. Different seasonings and different liquid mediums to get desired results. This is a favorite detox recipe for me in the summer months. It can be given to children too.
Serve cold or chilled. I like to serve it thinned with buttermilk, finely chopped green chillies, mint and coriander greens.
To cook the barley congee in a pan you just have to mix 1 tbsp of barley flour with 500 ml water, whisk well and cook on medium heat till it froths. Cool, dilute with buttermilk or whey and serve as desired.
It can be a daily healthy summer drink as well. The same way we have our buttermilk or Lassi.
Let me know if you liked this drink. It will be a helpful recipe up your sleeves.
Edited to add : The drink can be made using pearl barley as well. The procedure is simple.
Soak the pearl barley for 3-4 hours or overnight.
Now make a paste adding some water to it.
This paste would directly be used as a paste of the flour and water in the second step of the microwave recipe.
Just dilute the paste with a cup of water and cook till frothy and the mixture rises up the vessel.
Dilute again with cold water, add seasoning and serve cold or chilled.
1/2 cup pearl barley soaked in a cup of water. The paste will be about a cup, 2 tbsp of the paste would make two large mugs of a thick buttermilk like consistency Congee.