Barley water is a popular home remedy to help cool the body and beat the summer heat. So refreshing, soothing and easy to make.
Good ‘ol barley water is one of my favourite “old fashioned” drinks that I’ve taken since my childhood days. Till now, it is one of the first cooling Chinese herbal drink that I make whenever anyone in my family has a sore throat, fever or display any heat-related signs. So, before we go running off to see a doctor, we would be gulping down lots of this cooling barley drink to soothe any minor ailments.
Sometimes I’ll use my thermal cooker to make this barley drink. All it takes is just 10 minutes of boiling on the stovetop before I transfer the inner pot to the thermal cooker to let it finish the cooking. It’s very convenient when I have to leave the house and there’s no one at home.
Pearl Barley Health Benefits
For such a tiny grain, it does have a lot of nutritional value. If you feel that you’ve taken too much rich, oily and fried food, pearl barley water is great to help detoxify your body. Each time I take this drink I feel the urge to visit the bathroom more often as barley water has powerful diuretic effects.
Health benefits of barley include:
1. High dietary fibre which helps to lower cholesterol, fights constipation and improve digestion.
2. A good source of vitamins and minerals which includes selenium, B vitamins, copper, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium and niacin.
3. Helps with weight loss as it is low in fat and calories.
4. Prevents heart disease, high blood pressure and dangerous blood clotting. (source)
This cooling drink is a traditional ‘cure’ in many Chinese households for conditions ranging from sore throats to pimply skin. It reduces internal heat in the body and aids in reducing inflammation.
When my son was born, a friend advised me to replace his plain water with unsweetened barley water as drinking formula milk was deemed too heaty. Some Chinese mothers use unsweetened barley water to mix with milk formula for their babies. It is believed that the cooling properties of barley water will balance the “heaty” infant formula milk.
More information about the health benefits of drinking barley water can be found here.
Are there any uses for leftover cooked barley grains?
Most people discard the grains after drinking the barley water but I usually consume them along with the drink. My son loves them too. Use them in your pasta dishes, stew, salad, oatmeal, porridge and any of your favourite dishes. Sometimes, I keep my leftover barley grains in the fridge and eat them the next day.
So what do you do with leftover barley? Do you eat them or use them for other dishes or just toss them away? Share with me in your comments below!
Don’t want to miss any new recipes? Subscribe to Souper Diaries newsletter and have the latest recipes and updates delivered to your inbox! Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Google+ to keep up to date with all the latest happenings on Souper Diaries.
- ½ cup pearl barley
- 2 litres water (adjust water according to how you like the consistency)
- 6 stalks of pandan leaves - tied into a knot
- ½ cup candied wintermelon (optional)
- Rock sugar to taste (use less if you're adding candied wintermelon)
- Wash and drain the pearl barley until the water is much clearer.
- Place water, barley, candied wintermelon and pandan leaves into a soup pot and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes or so till the barley expands and softens. Top up with more water if necessary.
- Add in rock sugar 5-10 minutes before turning off the heat. Stir until the rock sugar is fully dissolved. Discard the pandan leaves.
- Serve hot. Or leave it to cool and chuck it into the fridge and enjoy it chilled.
So great of you to be sharing family recipes! I love those remedies that are not given by doctors or are not in books. Those that are just passed down from generation to generation. I had no idea barley or barley water could have so many benefits. I typically use fennel tea to help with digestion but I might just start cooking some barley. There are tons of Asian markets where I live so I am pretty sure I would find wintermelon as well 🙂
Hi Emily, I love home remedies too! I only go to the doctor’s when I have no other choice. Barley water is one of my favourite traditional home remedy for minor ailments. I hope you can find the candied wintermelon. It goes really well with this drink and sweetens it too. If you’re using them, you may cut down on the rock sugar. My children love eating candied wintermelon on its own. 🙂
So, what do you do with the bundle of pandan leaves ? let them simmer too, and then take them out?
Shall we drink it before our meals? 3 times per day?
Oh, and another question, are those pandan leaves very important, as I cannot find them in my country…
I’ll give it a try without them anyway, I need a detox!
Hi Laura, the pandan leaves are optional as their main purpose is to add a floral-like aroma to the barley drink. Let the leaves simmer together with the barley and remove them before serving. You can drink it at anytime of the day. I usually make a big pot and drink it throughout the day. I like to take this too when I feel like I need a detox 🙂
oh yeah… AWESOME! I’m VERY into the yin and yang (hot and cold) chinese knowledge of the power of our nutritional intake… and THIS is a good one!