Greek Recipes

Greek and Cypriot recipes

Mystron (Savoury Barley) Byzantine recipe

Original Recipe:
Athenaeus, The Partying Professors
‘Nicander of Colophon is the author who employs the word mystron when describing the use of the word barley groats in the first of his two books On Farming. He writes: “But when you are making a dish of fresh kid or lamb or capon, put some barley groats in a mortar, pound them well, then stir in some ripe olive oil. When the stock is boiling hard, pour it over the pounded groats, put the lid on the pot and steam it; for when it is cooked in this way, the heavy meal swells up. Serve it when lukewarm in hollow mystra.”’ [Grant, p. 96]


  • 2 cups pearl barley
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth

Preparation Steps:

  • Place barley, oil, and broth in a modern rice steamer.
  • Cook until done. (Alternatively, combine ingredients in a large pot and cook on a stovetop as directed for barley)
  • Serve in hollowed out bread loaves (optional).

Number of Servings:
Approximately 8 1/2 cup servings.

This is a very rich side dish — small servings are recommended.

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