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Soup-e Jo (Barley Soup)

Soup-e Jo (Barley Soup)

Companionship of kind friends and a bit of indulgence in comfort food have been warming some of the cold winter nights for me this past season, here in beautiful Montana.  We gather next door and the conversation goes anywhere from the infinity of the universe and the cosmos, to humorous confessions about alien abduction, to tips on how to meet the ladies.

As the gang discovered their newfound love for Persian food, I feel inspired to contribute more to our winter delights. Soup-e Jo was the first course of our previous gathering’s meal, served with my home baked Naan-e Barbari (Iranian bread). Both are easy to make, and as with any other Persian cooking, require some time. The saying goes گر صبر کنی٬ ز غوره حلوا سازی  with a literal translation of, “with patience, you may make a sweet dessert out of sour grapes.”.


Here is an 80’s picture of a semi-religious family at a traditional dinner. Sitting cross legged was something I never got quite used to, since we were spoiled with the comfort of chairs and tables at home.

I hope this rich and creamy soup suits your palate as it did ours. If you are concerned with that stubborn girth feel free to reduce, replace or omit the whip cream or enjoy the soup in small portions.

Just make sure to stir constantly when making this soup, to prevent the bottom layer from caking. Try your best not to let it boil.

Ingredients (6-8 servings):

  • 1/2 cup pearled barley, soaked 1-2 hrs
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 Tbs grated carrot
  • 2 cups milk ( 2%)
  • 1.5 oz butter ( I am partial to Amish butter)
  • 4 -5 Tbs flour (all purpose or rice flour)
  • salt and pepper

Optional Fixins:

  • 4-8 oz whip cream

Time~     Prep: 15 min     Cook: 2.5-3 hr


  1. In a med. to lrg. pot add water bring to boil then add the barley, return to medium heat and let it to cook for about 30 minutes covered.
  2. Add the grated carrots and allow to simmer while white sauce is prepared.
  3. White sauce : In a small pot pour in the flour, while stirring, gradually pour the milk into the pot ’till the flour is completely dissolved. Place it on the stove top (on low heat) and stir constantly so the mixture thickens. Add  salt & pepper to taste, and all of the butter. Bring to a boil then remove and pour in half the whip cream you are planning to use and stir.Your white sauce is ready now.
  4. Add the sauce to the soup and stir. Cook for 2-3 hrs on very low heat ’till soup thickens to your preference.
  5. Once the soup is ready you can add the rest of the whipping cream.

– Serve in a small bowl with warm naan or toast. Garnish with cilantro if desired.

Noosh-e jon aziz

( Bon appetit hun)

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