Curried Chicken and Barley Stew

Last night I got a little creative with the microwave and some stuff we had around the house, and it came out particularly well. So here’s the recipe.

  • Several carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced gingerroot
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup medium barley
  • Several ribs of celery, diced
  • A handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced (or diced tomato)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons good quality curry powder*
  • A couple of dashes low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • A handful of sliced mushrooms

Place the carrots, gingerroot, garlic, and olive oil in a large, microwave-safe dish. Heat on high for one minute.

Add broth and microwave for five minutes on high or until boiling. Stir in barley. Microwave on high for ten-minute intervals, stirring after each, for approximately a half-hour. If not all of the liquid has been absorbed yet, then microwave for three-minute intervals until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed and the barley is tender.

Add celery, tomatoes, curry powder, and soy sauce and stir well.

Heat 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil in a non-stick pan and heat over medium to medium-high heat. Coat chicken in hoisin sauce and stir-fry until cooked through. Remove from pan and add to barley. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil to pan and turn down to medium or medium-low. Add mushroom slices in a thin layer and sear on both sides until browned. Add to barley and stir.


You can do the first part (with the carrots and such, and the broth and barley), then prep the rest of the ingredients, including chopping vegetables and cooking chicken and mushrooms, while the barley cooks in the microwave. This is also a good dish for adding random in-season vegetables to. Get creative!

*Note: It’s important that you use a good-quality curry powder that has a medley of flavors to it, not a cheap one that tastes primarily of turmeric and chili powder (or something similar).

Postscript added later: This makes a wonderful cold lunch if you have leftovers! We found the dish made about 3 servings (we had two for dinner and it made one lunch the next day), but it might be more or less depending on how hungry you are and whether you’re having anything else with it (we just had it with nothing else).

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