Ancient Mesopotamian Barley Porridge

Ancient Mesopotamian Barley Porridge
Recipe type: Lunch, Dinner, Main
Cuisine: Ancient, Mesopotamian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Another recipe here from the fossil folks over at
barley porridge
Photograph by Richard Bowditch for
This one is a Mesopotamian dish that was translated from the ancient peoples and is a sort of barley porridge.

This recipe is a modern adaptation of a traditional Mesopotamian dish. The people of ancient Mesopotamia are believed to be some of the first to document their recipes, and these original recipes were found and translated from ancient cuneiform clay tablets, dating back to the 18th or 17th century B.C.E. Mesopotamia translates to land between the two rivers, as it is bounded by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; it makes up most of what has come to be known as the "fertile crescent," also known as the cradle of civilization. Common Mesopotamian crops included barley, onions, grapes, leeks, turnips, and apples.
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 leek, chopped, plus ½ minced
  • 1 onion, chopped, plus ½ minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 11/2 to 2 cups barley flour
  • salt to taste
  1. Add chopped leek and onion and ⅔ of the minced garlic to broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer 10 minutes. Season broth with salt.
  2. Keeping the broth at a low simmer, gradually add barley, stirring all the time to avoid clumps.
  3. Cook approximately 15 minutes until the porridge is thick and does not taste of raw flour.
  4. Stir often to keep the porridge from scorching. Add more broth or water if necessary.
  5. Combine the minced leek, onion, and the remaining garlic.
  6. When ready to serve, ladle porridge into bowls and garnish with the leek-onion-garlic mixture.
© 2004 by the Archaeological Institute of America

Adapted from "The Oldest Cuisine in the World," Jean Bottero


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