Eat Wherever: Accidentally Delicious Savory Oats!


When I woke up this morning, I was greeted with a pleasant surprise – my fiancé had made breakfast for me! (and by the looks of it, enough for about 8 other people, too)

 

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Though he often acts as my sous chef and is the Carb-Maker-in-Chief in our household (responsibilities include preparing the rice and making rotis), he will occasionally explore his own culinary autonomy.  This is rare, but often rewarding – for me, at least : D

 

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I made, he fried; that’s how this relationship usually works : D  

Btw, you are going to LOVE ME when I get around to sharing this one with you

I’d bet money on it if I had any.

You’ll be begging for more…OKRA!

 

 

When I mention savory oatmeal to people, they often give me a confused look that is quickly followed by an “ew, that sounds nasty”.  My dears, you are simply wrong.

 

It is still hard for me to wrap my own mind around savory oatmeal because, outside of meatloaf (YUCK), Americans generally stick to using oatmeal in deliciously sweet ways, such as oatmeal raisin cookies, maple brown sugar oatmeal for breakfast…ummm…do we do anything else with oatmeal?  I need to find out because when we ordered our groceries last week (we order them online for delivery at the moment), we accidently bought 4KG OF OATMEAL – seriously, for 2 people.  JEEZUS, THAT’S A LOT OF OATMEAL.  Really, it is.  An Insane Amount.  Of Oatmeal.  Especially since we will be returning to the US in less than a month.

 

Maybe I should have titled this post “Michelle’s Miraculous Oatmeal Diet/Cleanse – Lose 2345234598 Pounds in 20 Days!”

 

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Speaking of diets, how sexist and 1950s, wifey-in-the-kitchen is this advertising!? 

Courtesy Kelloggs India Oats : (

 

In the interest of not spending more money on food than we need to and not being wasteful, we are determined to work our way through as much of this 8lbs of oatmeal as possible…

 

Anyway, savory oatmeal in India is actually a thing.  And it is way more common than sweet oatmeal.  The flavors available in the instant packs (like the boxes of Quaker instant) include: tomato, masala, Italian, Chinese, vegetable.  Doesn’t sound particularly appetizing to me, either.

 

If you are like me, however, and vastly prefer a savory breakfast over a sweet one – or you have 4kg of oatmeal to plow through in less than a month – I implore you to try this.  It’s almost like eating one of those miracle berries – it changes your perception how something should or does taste.

 

There is cooking technique that this recipe requires that is a major key to much of Indian cooking: tadkaTadka is basically taking spices such as mustard seeds and cumin seeds and letting them sizzle and pop in hot oil to release their flavors (aka tempering).  The aromatics intensify, as do the flavors, lending a particular depth and nuance to a dish.  It also flavors the oil that you go on to use to fry up your vegetables, etc – much like adding chilies to hot oil in Chinese dishes, etc.  There’s a great article on tadka from NPR (along with some recipes that I’m definitely going to have to make my own!) here: http://www.npr.org/2011/12/07/143251451/the-crackling-spices-of-indian-tempering

 

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Examples of what tadka looks like – thanks to EZPZCOOKING for the photos!

 

This is not a difficult thing to do.  The most important thing is to MAKE SURE YOUR OIL IS HOT ENOUGH – if it isn’t, you will simply end up burning the seeds rather than heating them to a point where they pop and crack open.  I test my oil by dropping in one seed – if it just sits there, your oil isn’t hot enough yet.  If it starts to sizzle and little bubbles form around it and it is moving, you’re good to go.

Important: KEEP A LID HANDY – these seeds will pop all over the place in the oil and can get messy or burn you as they cause the oil to splash.  This is not fun T-T

 

As with other recipes I have posted, I am not giving any measurements.  Why?  Because it really isn’t necessary.  This isn’t paint-by-numbers; you are Picasso.  You’ve got some paints (the ingredients), you’ve got an idea in your head (the directions), but it’s the artist in you that decides exactly how much blue (carrots) or red (salt) suits your vision.

 


 

Are you ready to make some savory oats?  I hope so!  Here’s the recipe:

 

Ingredients

 

Oats (any kind should be find, only the texture will vary)

Water (for cooking the oats)

Some veggies, chopped (we did carrots and onions)

Oil (not olive oil – at least vegetable oil, preferably rice bran or sunflower oil because they are healthier)

Black Mustard Seeds

Cumin Seeds

Asafoetida (Hing)

Turmeric

Dried Curry Leaves

Salt

 

Directions

  1. Cook your oats as you normally do, though I recommend them not ending up very watery/wet.
  2. Heat oil in a small pan to a very very VERY high temperature. I test the temperature of my oil by dropping in just one cumin seed or mustard seed and watching how it reacts.  If it immediately pops, turn the heat down to medium, have your lid ready, and add in your cumin seeds and mustard seeds, placing the lid on ASAP.  Let them crackle a little bit, then add hing and dried curry leaves.
  3. Add your veggies in order of how long they will take to cook – carrots and potatoes take longer than onions which take longer than green peppers which take longer than tomatoes. After you add each vegetable, let it cook for a few minutes before adding the next one.  Add turmeric and stir.
  4. Once the veggies are done cooking (to your liking), add them into the pan holding your oatmeal. Keep the heat on low as you stir and mix well.  Add salt to taste, and perhaps some black pepper if you would like.
  5. Serve when well mixed and oatmeal is at your desired consistency. If too watery, cook for a few extra minutes til the oats thicken up.

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