(NC) Nurtured by talented chefs with a global outlook, fusion cooking is fast becoming one with Canada’s culinary identity. Introduce new, exciting tastes into traditional meals with fusion cooking. Try combining your favourite family recipes with staples grown close to home, like barley.

“Barley is a nutritious superfood and delicious grain that can truly transform a recipe,” says Kara Barnes, director of grower and industry programs at the Barley Council of Canada. “Barley dishes also pair perfectly with beer, since the grain is a key natural ingredient in the beverage.”

Barnes recommends chef Mike Ward’s Canadian take on a classic Indian dish, Chicken Barley Biryani. It’s a one pot meal that’s packed with fusion flavour and is best enjoyed with a tall glass of India Pale Ale.

Chicken Barley Biryani

Makes: 6 servings


• 6 chicken thighs

• 2 onions, finely chopped

• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) chili flakes

• 2 tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste

• 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) chicken stock

• 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) barley

• 1/4 cup (62.5 mL) fresh thyme

• Olive oil

• Salt and pepper for seasoning


1. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.

2. On stovetop, heat a splash of olive oil at medium-high in an ovenproof pan with high sides. Sear chicken thighs on both sides until golden brown. Remove chicken to a plate.

3. Add chopped onion and chili flakes to the pan. Sauté until onions are brown and crispy. Mix in tomato paste and chicken stock. Stir in barley, then return chicken thighs to pan and sprinkle with fresh thyme.

4. Cover with lid and bake for 40 minutes at 350°F.