Saturday, November 13, 2010

Barley Drink 薏米水

Job’s Tears 薏米 ( also known as 薏苡仁、苡仁、薏仁、白薏仁, coixseed ) are grains of Coix lacryma-jobi  ( 川谷薏苡) of the family Poaceae native to East Asia.     

Jobs Tears are misleadingly, sold as Chinese pearl barley in Asian markets, despite the fact that they are not the same genus as barley ( Hordeum vulgare )

There are 2 varieties grown : Coix lacryma-jobi var. lacryma with hard shelled pseudocarps which are very hard, pearly white, oval structures used as beads for making rosaries, necklaces, etc ; and Coix lacryma-jobi var ma-yuen which are used as cereal and for its medical properties in parts of Asia.

In Chinese culture, Jobs Tears is commonly cooked in sweetened water and consumed for its cooling property. 

Many like to cook it with a specialty bean curd, which is cooked till it disintegrated into whitish colloid, similar to soy milk.  I tried to cook this before, but the bean curd seems impossible to break apart. 

I like it simple : with sweetened winter melon, blended and served chilled with a slice of lemon.


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