Two varieties of the is tropical grass are grown, one as a grain and the other for hard shelled beads. While native to Southeast Asia and grown there in mountainous regions, this plant is now also grown in the southern United States and in the tropical Americas. It is usually pearled except in Japan where it is used "brown". This grain is used in soups and to make teas and beverages, including distilled alcoholic beverages. In the Asian markets here in Los Angeles, and I presume elsewhere in North America, it is always packaged as "Pearl Barley", though it is easily recognized from its large size and deep groove on one side.
More on Other Grains.
This grain has a light pleasant flavor somewhere between barley and wheat and with a unique aromatic twist. It's resistance to overcooking makes it an excellent ingredient in soups.
Buying: Job's Tears can be found in most markets serving Southeast Asian and Korean communities. They're usually packed in small plastic bags of about 12 ounces, always titled "Pearl Barley". These will be found with the other grains and beans.
Storing: This pearled grain is subject to rancidity and should not be stored long at room temperature, perhaps 4 months in a sealed container away from heat and light.
Cooking: Simmered, this grain is done at about 45 minutes, but will still have a slightly chewy center. With another hour of simmering the grains remain pretty much unchanged, still a bit chewy in the center and holding their shape well. One cup of dried grains will yield 3 cups cooked, so you'll need to start with about 4 cups of water.