I recently wrote an article for a magazine where I had to weigh in on the current food trends in South Africa for home cooking and in restaurants and predict a few trends for 2018. This is always tricky to do because it really is just an opinion based on what you know at a particular time. What I definitely can easily do is talk about trends I would love to see grow in this country, and one of these is more innovation around breakfast menus. I can cook whatever I want to at home but when I go out, I really want to see more exciting breakfast dishes that are not only centered around bacon and eggs. I adore both of those and there are times when that is all I want, but if I have to gaze at another breakfast menu where the options are permutations of traditional breakfasts with fried tomatoes, bacon, mushrooms and sausage or baked beans to bulk it up I might actually scream out loud. I would love to see other ingredients explored like grains and salad greens because these are awesome in the morning too. A soft poached egg with an oozing yolk over a bed of dressed lettuce, kale and or spinach is a thing of beauty and I want to eat salad in the morning. This recipe for barley breakfast bowls with fried halloumi, avocado, salad greens and a tahini dressing ticks all the boxes for me. If eating barley for breakfast is not your vibe, then this grain bowl will be awesome to eat for lunch or supper too.
Bowl food has been around for a while and doesn’t seem set to go away anytime soon. Who doesn’t love eating a meal easily out of a bowl with just a fork? It’s a fantastic way to combine multiple flavours and textures and throwing raw and cooked ingredients together. To make it more visually appealing, I’d say separate the components when you serve them and then take personal pleasure in mixing them all together before you eat. After all the idea is to get a bit of everything in each mouthful.
To make the barley you can use either pearl or hulled barley. I prefer hulled because it has more fibre and I love the nutty flavour. It will take about 20 minutes longer to cook than pearl barley. One cup of uncooked barley will yield about 3 cups of cooked barley and I suggest making a little more than is required for these breakfast bowls so you have leftovers for salads or to serve with other dishes. You can use any grain that you like such as quinoa. I personally loathe the stuff but it is pretty healthy.
The fried halloumi is the decadent component in this dish but oh so delicious. Seve it straight out the pan while its still warm and oozing. I like to give it a little spritz of lemon juice to liven things up.
The avocado along with the tahini dressing gives this dish a beautiful creamy texture and of course avos are just so very healthy for us, offering up Vitamin E and omega 3 & 6.
Recipe – what you will need to make one bowl
- About ½ cup cooked barley (or any grain you fancy)
- 30 – 50gm slice of halloumi
- Finely chopped parsley or another herb of choice
- A small handful of micro greens or baby leaves
- Half a small avo
- One boiled egg to your preference
- Tahini dressing
- Lemon wedge
- Salt & pepper
- chopped parsley or chives
Tahini dressing (this makes enough for 3 – 4 bowls)
- 2 Tbsp tahini
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 – 2 Tabs water
- 2 – 3 Tbsp plain yoghurt
- Salt & paper
- A pinch of za’atar or any other spice of your choice (optional)
Make the barley by boiling a ratio of one cup of barley with 3 cups of water. Add vegetable stock or salt to the water. Bring it to he boil and then cook for around 40 minutes (hulled barley). It should still have a slight chew to the texture but not be raw. Drain and set aside.
Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together and adjusting the taste to your preference.
When you are ready to eat, time your eggs and halloumi cooking accordingly. Boil the eggs for 5 minutes for soft eggs and longer if you want harder eggs.
Fry the halloumi in a splash of olive oil on both sides until golden brown.
Assemble the bowls by lining the base with the cooked barley. Top with the fried halloumi, halved boiled egg and avocado. Season with salt & pepper & drizzle over the dressing and top with the salad greens / parlsey.
Barley is probably my favourite grain and you can check out a few of my recipes
Mushroom & barley risotto (this is seriously a good one)
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