Thai Chicken Barley Risotto

Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Jan Gautro

Instead of using Arborio rice to make risotto, use high-fiber pearl barley instead.  The Thai flavor comes from cilantro, lemongrass, ginger, and red curry paste, and the protein comes from the lean chicken in this satisfying one-dish meal.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)
Recipe from Cooking Light

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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 434
  • Calories from fat: 26%
  • Fat: 12.4g
  • Saturated fat: 3.9g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.7g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 3g
  • Protein: 41.6g
  • Carbohydrate: 37.4g
  • Fiber: 7.8g
  • Cholesterol: 96mg
  • Iron: 3mg
  • Sodium: 691mg
  • Calcium: 65mg

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green onions, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
  • 1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh lemongrass
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)
  • 1 1/4 cups red bell pepper strips
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 4 teaspoons chopped peanuts

Preparation

  1. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup onions and 1 tablespoon garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in barley, 1/4 cup cilantro, salt, black pepper, 1/2 cup broth, and jalapeños; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed before adding the next (about 15 minutes).
  2. Combine juice and next 5 ingredients (juice through curry paste); set aside.
  3. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup onions, 1 tablespoon garlic, lemongrass, and ginger; sauté 1 minute. Add chicken, bell pepper, and peas; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in barley mixture, juice mixture, and milk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/4 cup cilantro. Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon nuts.
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