What is Adlai?

If you have not heard of adlai (also spelled as adlay), chances are you have actually eaten this. Another substitute to rice, adlai is known as Chinese pearled barley or Job's Tears, which are said to represent the tears shed by the biblical Job during the challenges he faced.  With its low glycemic count, adlai is another alternative for those looking for a healthier form of rice. It is native to East and Southeast Asia and is puffier than white or brown rice. 

Adlai or Chinese pearled barley as a rice substitute.

I've been experimenting on different recipes that can work great with adlai. Besides from using it as a plain rice substitute, it also works great in salads, as a risotto, or even in sushi since it can be cooked with more water to make it denser and more compact. 

How to Cook Adlai 

Just like regular rice, adlai can be cooked in a rice cooker with a ratio of 1 cup adlai to 3 cups water and has about the same cooking time as brown rice. It can also be mixed with other grains. 

sushi salmon
Adlai in sushi. Simply add smoked salmon, seasonings, and sauce. This one is with gochuchang sauce.

Final product. Salmon sushi with adlai.

Tastes Like Rice
Adlai tastes like any other grain, but I found it more fun to eat because it is larger in size and has a smoother texture compared to brown rice, for instance. A small cup of adlai can make you full and doesn't make you feel sleepy or lethargic when you finish eating due to its high energy nutrition value at 368 kcal vs. 363 kcal for brown rice.

Note: I received my adlai grits directly from the Cebu, Philippines from UpNourish.  

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