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Warm Sesame Barley Rice Salad with Mushrooms and Sugar Snap Peas

Chef Polly Sang, R&D Chef, Compass Group

rice and barley salad with Asian dressing

Thomas Holbrook

Serves 6


2 cups brown rice
1/2 cup pearl barley
4 cups water
1 pound spinach
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 pound sugar snap peas
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups zucchini, thin half moon slices
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 pounds shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Kung Pao sauce
1-1/2 cups carrots, julienned
1-1/2 cups red bell peppers, julienned


1/2 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar


Rinse brown rice and pearl barley in two changes of water. Strain. Place the grains and water in a heavy-bottomed pan. Bring to a boil, lower heat to very low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered for 15 more minutes. Fluff the grains and keep warm.

Blanch the spinach and squeeze out all the water. Place the spinach in a bowl and season with sesame oil and salt, loosening the leaves. Blanch and cool the sugar snap peas.

In a hot dry skillet, toast the sesame seeds for 2-3 minutes until very fragrant. Coarsely grind the seeds in a spice grinder, mortar and pestle, or food processor.

Place the sliced zucchini in a bowl and toss well with 1 teaspoon salt. Allow to sit for 20 minutes, stirring a few times, to release the water. Drain in a colander for 5 minutes. Then saute in a hot pan.

In the same hot pan, heat the olive oil and saute the mushrooms until wilted. Season with salt. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until the mushrooms are cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the pan and mix with Kung Pao Sauce.

Place the rice mixture and all the vegetables in a large bowl and toss with the dressing ingredients and half of the toasted sesame seeds. Garnish the salad with the remaining sesame seeds.

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