Over the last few weeks of January, when the restaurants are quiet after the holiday rush, to get everyone back out spending money and hitting the town over 180 restaurants participate in Dine Out Vancouver. A three week smorgasboard of choice in restaurants ranging from the pizza joint down the road to high end restaurants like Lumiere (formerly owned and operated by Chef Rob Feenie) or Raincity Grill. Menus all include a 3 course dinner, and come at three level of prices $15, $25 and $35. This year we hit up four restaurants as part of the promotion. Every year we go to the Cannery (yum!) and then add a few restaurants that would not be part of our usual dining experiences.

At the Cannery this year we had a delicious dinner of sautéed Black Tiger Prawns, served over coconut barley risotto, with sweet basil and red Thai curry sauce. I love risotto on any day, so this was fun and unique twist. I tried to reproduce it to the best of my abilities at home, it turned out pretty well. Just be aware that barely has a totally different texture than regular arborio rice.

** picture to come (we ate it before we could take the picture!)

Barely Risotto Ingredients
* serves 2 or 3
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 minced shallots
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 handfuls of pearl barely*
1/3 cup cooking sherry
4-6 cups low sodium chicken stalk

Coconut + Prawn Red Thai Curry Sauce Ingredients
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 minced shallots
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red pepper julienned
1 handful of snap or snow peas cut in half lengthwise
2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste **
6 oz coconut milk
12-15 prawns
juice from one lime

*sorry I never measure risotto, my rule of thumb is one handful per person when used as the main course)
** this may be too spicy for you, start with one and add more if you want more heat.


Bring stock to low simmer. Heat up oil in fry pan. Sweat the onions and garlic on medium heat, carefully so as not to burn the garlic. Add the barely, essentially you are toasting the grains and opening it up to absorb the liquid. Once the barely has toasted for about one minute, add sherry. Once liquid has absorbed/evaporated, slowly add hot stock to pan half a ladle at a time. Stir the barely often (I didn’t find it as finicky as
arborio rice).

Once barely gets close to being done it will be soft, shouldn’t be crunchy! (about 15-17 minutes of adding stock/stirring and repeat), in a second sauté pan, heat oil, add garlic and shallots, sweat for about 2 minutes, add the red peppers and sugar/snap peas. Just as peppers begin to soften, add the curry paste, coconut milk and stir to combine. Add prawns, cook until they turn pink (not too long or you over cook them and they get rubbery!) as you finish squeeze the juice of one lime into the pan to freshen up the flavours.

Serve by scooping barely risotto onto a plate and then a scoop of the coconut curry, veggies and prawns on top. Enjoy!