Mushroom Miso Barley Risotto

I started eating Japanese cuisine only recently and whatever I’ve tasted so far has been delicious. Ramen is the world’s favorite food! Come on… noodles dunked in spicy soup, garnished with veggies, condiments and meat!! No convincing needed to have ramen on any given day. This post, however, is about Risotto!

As you know, Risotto is an Italian recipe of rice cooked with vegetables, meat or seafood. Wanting to do something different, I felt like my Risotto needed a Japanese touch! We added Miso to our beloved Italian dish.

Now, miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made with fermented soy beans with salt and a fungus called Koji. It is a thick paste that can be used in sauces, spreads, pickled vegetables or just plain soup. Miso is just all round good food.

Another twist was that I used barley instead of rice for this risotto to make it just that little healthier and wholesome. Coming to how this worked out… just read on.

What you need:

250 grams of pearl barley
50 grams of store bought miso paste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion
2 garlic finely chopped
300ml of chicken stock (substitute with veg stock if needed)
250 grams of white button mushrooms
Fresh black pepper crushed and powdered
Some seaweed for garnish

Let’s cook:

Step 1 : Wash the mushrooms and chop them into bite size pieces. Set aside.

Step 2 : Heat a large pan and heat olive oil. Add mushrooms and saute on medium high flame for 4 minute stirring regularly. While the mushrooms are doing their thing, finely chop 1 large red onion.

Step 3 : The mushrooms will sweat quite a bit, it’s summer time after all! You need to patiently keep sauteing for a couple of minutes more till all the water evaporates. Remove the mushrooms in a bowl and set aside.

Step 4 : In the same pan, add a few drops of olive oil and add garlic. Keep stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add onions and saute till they become translucent

Step 5 : Give your barley seeds a quick rinse under the tap and add them to the onion garlic mix. Sprinkle some freshly crushed and powdered black pepper. Saute for 3 minutes


Step 6: Add 300 ml of chicken or veg stock to your pan and hear the barley sizzle away to glory! The sound is extremely satisfying!

Step 7 : Throw in the mushrooms and miso paste now and give it a stir to dissolve the paste. Let this mix bubble away for 5 minutes. Keep stirring so the barley doesn’t stick to the pan. Or just a non stick pan 🙂


Step 8 : At this stage add 2 cups of water and give it a stir. Cover the pan with a lid and cook the mix down for 7-8 minutes. The miso paste will have enough salt. So check for seasoning at this stage.

Step 9 : Check if your barley has become soft. If not, add another half cup of water and cook down.

Please note, if you are cooking with grains, chances are they will not cook down completely. They will become soft and will have a great crunch, which tastes great. You just need to adjust your palate to this new taste.

Step 10: Mushroom Miso Barley Risotto (MMBR) is ready to serve! Add some crispy seaweed and grated Parmesan cheese. Ah! Perfect Japanese and Italian seasoning, amirite?

PS: Doesn’t MMBR sound like a doctor’s degree!?! No? It’s just me then! Happy cooking!

Thakur Baldev Singh from Sholay approves this recipe!

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