Keith on Food

Ayurvedic Scotch Broth & Olde Barley Flat Bread

You may not think of Scotch broth as a typical Ayurvedic dish—but to me it is! That’s because it is made with the seasonal and local ingredients that are perfectly suited to the climate here in Wales, England and Scotland.

The barley, peas and vegetables are really nourishing during the long winters in this part of the world. This recipe makes a large pan full, so halve the quantity for one or two people.

Ayurvedic Scotch Broth

Serves 4

1 tbsp butter or coconut oil
250 g potatoes peeled & diced
250 g swedes peeled & diced
2 onions peeled & sliced
1 celery stick sliced
1 leek sliced
2½ ltrs vegetable stock
100 g pearl barley rinsed
100 g green split peas
75 g kale finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Melt the butter/coconut oil and sauté all vegetables, except for the kale, in a large saucepan for 2–3 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock, washed barley and split peas.

Cover with a lid, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 60 minutes or until the peas and pearl barley are soft.

Stir in the kale and cook for a further 15 minutes, or until all the ingredients are well cooked.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Barley, like wheat, is a staple grain throughout Europe and Asia, though it’s also revered for providing a vital pillar of Western civilisation … beer!

For a while I lived near a brewery, and a few days a week a delicious, sweet aroma used to fill the air. It was the barley being malted. Malting allows the grain to sprout so the enzymes convert the starch into sugar (maltose). Then the grain is air-dried to stop the germination, and the malt is extracted from the grain and used for brewing.

Barley is also used to make malted drinks like Horlicks, sweets like Maltesers, and caffeine-free coffee substitutes. Before potatoes became widely used, barley was the staple food of the masses. It was cheaper than wheat, which was more of a rich man’s grain. Barley will grow in colder climates than wheat, so is more popular in areas like Tibet, Russia and Eastern Europe.

Barley flat bread is a yeast-free rustic flat bread made with baking soda. Barley is heavier than wheat, so expect a cross between a soda bread and a biscuit.
It’s quick and easy to make because it doesn’t need to rise.

Olde Barley Flat Bread

200 g barley flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
200 ml buttermilk or live yoghurt
10 g butter

Makes 6 slices
Heat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a baking tray.

Sift the flour, bicarb and salt into a mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour.

Add enough buttermilk/yoghurt to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and use your hands to form it into a round, flat shape about 1 cm thick.

Slide the loaf onto the baking tray. Use a knife to score the top of the loaf to mark the slices.

Using a fork, make indentations over the top of the loaf. Bake until light golden in colour, about 25 minutes.

Cut or break into wedges along the score lines and serve hot.