Three Peas with Barley, Chili and Green Garlic

Cook, In Season, Meat-Free Mains, Recipes, Sides, Spring, Weeknight Dinner

Three Peas with Barley, Chili and Green Garlic

Pea shoots are the young, tender tips and vines that emerge from pea plants in spring. Here, they’re tossed with sugar snaps, English peas and barley in a bright, sweet-spicy Asian-inspired dressing to create a hearty side dish or vegetarian main course.


Three Peas with Barley, Chili and Green Garlic


Kosher salt, to taste

6 oz. (185 g.) sugar snap peas, trimmed

1 cup (5 oz./155 g.) shelled English peas

1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz./105 g.) pearl barley

2 Tbs. rice vinegar

2 Tbs. soy sauce

2 Tbs. water

1 Tbs. firmly packed golden brown sugar

1 tsp. sambal oelek or other pure chili paste

1 Tbs. Asian sesame oil

1/4 cup (3/4 oz./20 g.) thinly sliced green garlic, or 4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup (3/4 oz./20 g.) sliced green onions

2 fresh kaffir lime leaves

About 1/4 lb. (125 g.) pea shoots


Bring a large saucepan half full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the snap peas and English peas and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a colander and rinse under cold water. Set aside. Return the water in the saucepan to a boil, add the barley and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and set aside.


In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, the 2 Tbs. water, brown sugar and sambal oelek until blended. Set aside.


In a large, heavy fry pan over high heat, warm the sesame oil. Add the green garlic, green onions and lime leaves and stir-fry until the green onions are tender, about 30 seconds. Add the reserved snap peas, English peas and barley along with the pea shoots and stir to coat. Pour in the soy sauce mixture and stir and toss until the peas and pea shoots are tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately. Serves 4.

3 comments about “Three Peas with Barley, Chili and Green Garlic

  1. Cynthia

    Looks yummy, but where in the world does one buy shelled English peas, sambal oelek or Kaffir lime leaves? This must be for your New York readers only.

  2. Olivia Ware

    Hi Cynthia, you can find English peas at farmers’ markets or well-stocked grocery stores. Sambal oelek (or ulek) — an Indonesian chili paste — and kaffir lime leaves can be found in Asian markets.

  3. natali

    i live in southern CA and even the big chain grocery stores carry english peas at this time of the year (not usually shelled though) and sambal. the kaffir lime leaves i can usually only find at small asian markets, but you can always use lots of lime zest and juice instead. 🙂


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