In the following Persian quatrains (do-bayti) by Baba Taher Oryan, the great Persian poet and Gnostic of the late 4th century, there's a reference to barley bread being the poor man's bread:
If I could ever get my hands on the universe
I'll ask, "What's with this?" and "What's with that?"
You give one person a hundred folds of blessings,
To another only a loaf of barley bread soaked in blood.
Ash-e Jo - Barley Stew with Beans and Herbs
1 cup barley, soaked overnight
1/2 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
1/2 cup beans (white beans or red kidney beans) soaked overnight, I used white beans.
1/2 cup lentils
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped leeks
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped spinach, *optional
1/2 cup chopped dill *optional
Salt and pepper taste
1/2 cup liquid whey (kashk)
1 large onion, peeled, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dried mint
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Olive oil or vegetable oil
- In a large stew pot, place barley, chickpeas, beans, lentils and add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chopped vegetables, salt, and pepper. Add more water if necessary.
- Cook for another 30 minutes on low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- In the meantime, in a small pan heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium high heat, saute onions until golden brown. add turmeric and stir well. Add dried mint and remove from heat. Set aside.