Krupnik – Polish Barley Soup

Krupnik Polish Barley Soup1

Two weeks ago I visited the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum. It’s located in the north part of the town, where there used to be a Jewish ghetto. The Moses Synagogue is used as the main exhibition hall where the Auschwitz Concentration Camp is featured. Visiting such a place is always difficult and upsetting. It’s hard to believe such atrocities against humanity has happened within the last 100 years. Oppressed people were treated worse than animals – deprived of food, water, and shelter. As a vegan I think what makes me sad is that some animals are still treated badly, but they can’t build a museum for themselves.

On a lighter note, the part played by people in Shanghai is not that bad. The lucky Jewish people who managed to escape to Shanghai settled here and rebuilt their life. Many of them returned home later but still had fond memories of their life in Shanghai. One of them commented: “Actually Shanghai life wasn’t much better back then, but the people showed great sympathy for us.” It makes me glad to know Chinese people were compassionate back then. Compassion is the light in the darkness of evil, it shines like a gem in a pile of coal.

After my visit I wanted to cook krupnik again. I cooked it once when I was researching Polish food. I wonder if people talked about it when they were in the camp. It is such a common dish in every home in Poland, but it must sound like the yummiest food from heaven when they were fed a few potatoes and rice porridge with worms back then. I really hope that something like that never happens again. Maybe we can start to refuse violence from our dining table and embrace the compassion for all creatures. :)

Krupnik Polish Barley Soup0

Health Index: ⅘ (4 to 5 times a week)
Kitchen Gadgets: Pot

½ red onion
3 medium sized potatoes
½ carrot
10 cremini mushrooms
1 cup barley
1ltr vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Cut the potatoes into chunks, cube the carrot, remove the stems from mushrooms and slice them, slice the onion.
2. Turn on the medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil into the pot, add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes.
3. Add the carrot and potatoes and sauté for 2 minutes.
4. Add the vegetable stock into the pot, stir to mix.
5. Add 1 cup barley. From now on you have to constantly stir the ingredients; if barley sinks to the bottom of the pot it can easily get burnt. Cook for 20 minutes, when you’re not stirring it, put the lid on.
6. Add the mushrooms, and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and season with sea salt.
7. Serve with freshly ground black pepper, enjoy!

I like to eat barley al dente, but if you prefer it soft, increase the time in step 6 to between 15 and 25 minutes, checking the consistency regularly.