Pan Fried Barley Cakes

By Sara Strother


2 c cooked hulled barley or hato mugi*
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced small
1 c fresh shiitake mushrooms
½ c daikon radish, washed and cut into ¼“ dice
½ c carrot, washed and cut into ¼” dice
2 kale leaves, minced
¼ c fresh parsley, washed and chopped
1 c organic gluten free buckwheat flour
1 T good quality soy sauce
1 c fresh green string beans, washed and cut into 1” pieces
1 c fresh yellow string beans, washed and cut into 1” pieces
Filtered water
3 tsp Ume Plum vinegar (ume su or umeboshi su)**
Toasted Sesame Oil
German Style Mustard

Place string beans in separate saucepans with ¼-inch water and pinch sea salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place yellow beans in a blender or small processor. Puree. Adjust thickness with bean broth. Mix with 1 ½ tsp umeboshi vinegar. Place in small bowl and set aside until serving. Repeat using green beans.

In large sauté pan toast the garlic in a small amount of unrefined sesame oil. Add onion, carrot, daikon, and sauté 5 minutes. Lastly add shiitake and kale. Cook a few minutes further.

Place barley/mugi, cooked veggies and parsley in large bowl. Fold mixture together until well blended. Add soy sauce and flour. Test mixture for ability to hold the shape of a small patty. If mixture is too moist add small amount of flour or if too dry add water.

Wipe a 1/3 c measuring cup with sesame oil and then pack mixture into it. Tap out onto a plate and repeat until mixture is used up. Prep another plate by covering with a paper towel for finished fried cakes.

Brush bottom of sauté pan with sesame oil. Heat over a medium flame. Cook until golden brown on bottom. Turn cake over. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Serve with bean purees and mustard for dipping.

* Hato mugi is a variety of barley popular in China and Japan. Macrobiotic recipes are where I first encountered the grain and I fell in love with it’s chewy texture. It’s difficult to turn this grain into a mushy disaster. But where to find this in Chicago? Argyle St. in Uptown carries them in their Asian markets. I’ve never had a problem getting it at Tai Nam Market, which luckily, has a parking lot!

** Ume Plum Vinegar can be found in the Asian section at Health Food Store. This versitile condiment can also be used in salad dressings. Swap out another vinegar and do not add and salt to your traditional dressing recipes and just use ume instead.

What is ume plum vinegar exactly? According to Eden Foods, “Umeboshi plums have been used for over 2,000 years in China and over 1,000 years in Japan. They were especially valued for their ability to strengthen digestion. Umeboshi were traditionally used to stimulate appetite, help the body maintain the proper acid/alkaline balance, and restore energy.”



Known for her attention to detail, challenging practices and poetic integration of yoga philosophy, Sara provides students with a rich experience for growth physically and mentally. There is always an aim for movement in class; be it a pinnacle pose, working a key action, or contemplating a specific theme.  Check her out on or in Chicago at yogaview.  Sara has been a committed student to yoga since 1999.  She holds teaching certifications since 2004 and continually studies under Noah Maze of YogaMaze and local Iyengar teachers.  She’s a mother, a hiker, and a plant-based dynamo in the kitchen.



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