There just a few months left of the fresh herb season so I’m trying to find ways to eat up as much of the leaves as I can. Plus, it’s a constant battle with the bugs. Hopefully, I will enjoy more of the herbs than the bugs do.
A while back I wrote about using herbs for a Southeast Asian rice salad. Dried shrimp and a stunning array of finely chopped aromatics were part of the nasi ulam recipe. Then I went to Chimu, a new Peruvian restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. There, the chef presented a barley salad tossed with a green salsa criolla. The dish was called trigo mote, and though trigo means wheat in Spanish, barley was used. The Peruvian barley salad also had bits of beets, feta and leaves of tarragon. It was refreshing.
I’d mostly eaten barley in western soups but the Peruvian treatment made me realize that barley is appreciated as a major grain in many parts of the world. After all, we’d had roasted barley tea at many Korean and Japanese restaurants. Barley is used for the Tibetan staple tsampa. China is one of the world’s biggest consumers of barley as food. Obviously, barley is not just for beer and beef soup.