Curried Vegetable and Pearl Barley Stew Recipe

June 3, 2012 by

Curried Vegetable Stew with Pearl Barley

Have you ever cooked stew for 12 people? Well let me tell you, you need a pretty big pot! I have an 8L stock pot and it was absolutely full. I made a double batch of the recipe below and still had half a pot left, so if you’re only cooking for 2 people, I recommend halving the recipe unless you want to be eating it for a week.

Serves 4-6

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp good quality curry powder (I used a mild Malaysian curry powder that was really lovely)
  • 4 large (about 750g) waxy potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into small chunks (Use Kipfler, Dutch Cream, Kestrel or any red skinned potato – baby varieties also work perfectly)
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into small chunks (I used the small variety of Chantenay carrots, so just scrubbed and quartered them)
  • 1 large or 2 small zucchini, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 large handfuls spinach, sliced about 1cm wide
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2½ litres vegetable stock (you could use chicken or half and half if you prefer)

Heat the oil in a large casserole dish or stock pot, and sweat the onion and garlic with a good pinch of salt over a medium heat until translucent and fragrant.

Add the fennel seeds and curry powder to the pot with about half a cup of vegetable stock, and fry until fragrant; being careful not to burn the curry powder and fennel seeds.

Add the potatoes and carrots with a little more stock and continue to cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, stirring to coat the vegetables in the curry mixture.

Add the barley, stir to combine. Add the rest of the stock, bring it to a gentle boil and allow the stew to simmer over a low heat for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the barley is soft and the dish thick. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Turn up the heat to medium again and add the zucchini, stir through, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir though the spinach just before serving, letting it wilt in the heat of the stew.

Note: if you don’t intend to eat this immediately, once the barley is soft add in a bit more stock to loosen it, as some of the liquid will disappear once it has been refrigerated. To reheat, just put it back on the stove on low heat, covered, until hot. I recommend you add the spinach when you reheat it, to keep it’s nice green colour and fresh flavour.


  1. ltggo

    This was super yummy! The Malaysian curry made a really nice change from the typical sweet curry. Perfect for winter and my little girl loved it.

  2. Izzy

    I cooked this stew and it was sensational. I have yet to cook one of your recipes that isn’t a winner with my family and friends:)

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