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Barley Fish Soup

Barley Fish Soup


Sometimes I think that barley as a grain is undervalued. When properly cooked, mixed with various spices, herbs and some other aromatics, this healthy grain is really delicious. In many cases barley could be a good substitute for rice.

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My barley fish soup can be prepared with rice or barley. This time I chose barley which gives an interesting texture and earthy flavor to the soup. Hearty and, at the same time light, this tasty and healthy soup will make my day.

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Barley Fish Soup


one 3-quart pot


  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely or coarsely cut
  • 1 chili pepper, finely chopped (or a pinch of cayenne pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes)
  • ¾ cup pearl barley
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 can tomatoes (14-15 oz) or 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 lb fish fillet to taste (salmon, trout, tuna, cod, sea bass, catfish, perch or 2  cans of solid tuna in water)
  • 2 medium pickled cucumbers, chopped
  • 5-6 tbsp capers (optional)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil for cooking
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 ½ quarts vegetable or fish broth (or water – see Tip)




In a saucepan heat the olive oil, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until lightly browned.

Add the garlic, sauté for 30-45 seconds.

Add the carrots. Stir.

Add the barley, chili pepper, pour the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the celery, tomatoes with their juices and the tomato paste. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the pickles, capers and the fish. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Adjust the seasoning.

Add the dill and cook for 1 minute.

Let the soup stand for 10-20 minutes.

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  • Tip:

You can use water in place of the broth. In this case add 1-2 bay leaves, ½ tsp each ground coriander, fennel and a pinch of ground allspice or 1 tsp homemade Old Bay seasoning to the soup.


Cook with pleasure!


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