return to homepage

Jobs Tears (Chinese Pearl Barley)

job's tears

What are Job's Tears?

Jobs Tears (Chinese Pearl Barley) is a type of grain native to East Asia that has long been appreciated as a nutritious food source as well as an ornament. The name refers to the tear drop shape of each grain and the biblical story of a man named Job who suffered greatly. Depending on where you live this grain may be called Christ's Tears, Mary's Tears or any number of people's tears but its most common name is Job's Tears.

This grain is often utilized as beads for rosaries and necklaces. They have very hard shells and polish easily. They also have a natural hole going through their center making them perfect for beading.

The Plant
job's tears plant It is related to corn and grows on grassy plants standing 4-6 feet tall. Like corn, there are several varieties cultivated for different purposes. Some varieties can be boiled and eaten like rice or as cereal. Others are better for making flour. They all taste slightly sweet (like a mix of corn and white rice) and are high in protein.

Ways to Eat It
The most common way to eat Job's Tears is as a side-dish or in soups but it can also be used to make breads, pastas, and porridges. East Asian countries also use it for making drinks similar to coffee and tea.

Job's Tears are often mistakingly labeled
Chinese Pearled Barley in Asian markets. If you're not sure what you are buying then check the price. They are about five times the price of Barley. Second, check the size of the grains. If they are much larger and
rounder than Barley - they are not Barley. Here are
some pictures to help you tell the difference.

job's tears versus pearled barley

job's tears nutrition

How To Cook?

Combine 2 parts grain to 1 part liquid. Bring to a boil then simmer, uncovered, 50-60 minutes or until water has evaporated. Fluff with fork and let stand 5 minutes.

  • Shelf-Life
    The grain will store up to 1 year, if
    stored properly.

  • Taste
    Slightly sweet, like a mix of corn and white rice.

  • Where to Buy?
    Edible Job's Tears are almost impossible to find in stores outside of Asia. We've put together a list of online sources to help make your search

    To make your search easier, click on our Amazon link, we have already organized all of the Job's Tears products for you. Amazon has a variety of prepackaged organic and non-organic whole grains, grain products, and related items. Their shipping prices are reasonable and on some products, free.
    Home Naturals Inc. is a good source for small and larger quantities of this ancient whole grain.
    Ethnic Food Co. is a good source for buying very small quantities (3 ounces) of this nutritious grain. This is a good choice if you want to experiment with this food without paying the expensive prices for it in larger quantities. Shipping can also be expensive.
  • Favorite Recipes

    Note: Job's Tears can be substituted for Barley in any Barley recipe.

    Chinese Chicken Soup

    This is an adapted version of a recipe found on the back of a package of Job's Tears from Ethnic Food Co.

  • 1 whole chicken

  • 10 cups water

  • 1/2 cup Job's Tears, soaked in water overnight and drained

  • 5 slices fresh ginger root, finely chopped

  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced

  • 3 scallions (green onions), finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine

  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  • Directions

    Clean and wash the whole chicken then place in a stockpot with the water. Bring to a rolling boil then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours or until the chicken is tender and cooked.

    Remove the chicken. Pull the chicken from the bones. Discard the bones and return the shredded chicken to the stockpot.

    Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

    Job's Tears Salad

    This recipe comes from
    Namu Organics. They have many recipes for this exotic whole grain.

    Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

  • 1 cup Job's Tears

  • 2 cups of water

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup of canned chick peas, drained and rinsed

  • 1/3 cup of pine nuts

  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped (dried, not in oil)

  • 1 red pepper, diced

  • 1/8 cup of coriander, chopped

  • 1/8 cup of parsley, chopped

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

  • 1/2 small purple onion, finely chopped

  • 1 tbs of dried cumin powder

  • 2 tbs of olive oil

  • 2 tbs of fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tbs of balsamic vinegar

  • Directions

    Soak Job's Tears for at least 30 minutes in water. Then rinse them, pouring off any hulls until the water is clear. Then combine them with salt and water in a pot and bring to a boil. After it comes to a full boil, turn heat down and simmer for 2 more minutes or until the grains are tender yet firm. Remove from heat, drain but do not rinse. Let stand until warm.

    While the grain is cooking, lightly toast pine nuts in a dry frying pan. Chop and measure all other ingredients into a mixing bowl.

    Finally, add warm Job's Tears to mixing bowl with the other ingredients. Enjoy!


    Jobs Tears




    Disclaimer: The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
    Copyright© 2009.
    All information and images on are copyrighted. For more details see our Terms of Use.