Savoury Breakfast Porridge

When Quaker Oats came to India, they figured out that Indians are not fans of sweet breakfasts. OK, apart from Bengalis probably. But the rest of India was not buying any of that Maple and Brown Sugar stuff. So what did they do? They dressed their instant oatmeal in “New and Improved” flavours that involved salt, spices a.k.a masala and and even vegetables (dehydrated ones of course). And since there are always people who love a bit of sweetness in their oatmeal, they came out with flavours that mimicked Indian desserts. The kind that contain saffron.

I have nothing against sweet breakfasts. I am not particularly crazy about them though, and would probably throw the whole thing out of the window if someone served me upma, dosa, idli or stuffed parathas. But given that I have usually ten minutes to get myself something to eat in the morning, all of those are out of question. So I reconciled myself to the usual cereal, with the occasional toast thrown in. Then I developed some kind of sensitivity to nut and grain milks (soy, almond, the whole works). So breakfast cereals that need copious amounts of milk were crossed out of my list. Then I decided to try porridge, either made of oats or multi-grain. It went pretty well for a while, with fruits, honey and what not.

Then I got tired of all that sweetness. And decided to try making a savoury one. I have been making it a few days in a row, and I am loving it! It is really easy to make too. Just chop up some vegetables, saute in oil/ghee/butter with some seasonings, add water and the grain flakes, bring to a boil, stir, done!

Recipe: Savoury Breakfast Porridge

Bell pepper, carrots, french beans, raw peanuts, dried curry leaves, mustard seeds and oatmeal

To the above, I added a handful of multi-grain “Muesli” (without fruits). The mustard seeds and curry leaves give it a South-Indian twist, but you could substitute with whole cumin and fresh coriander for an equally delicious North-Indian twist.

To a spoonful of ghee, add the mustard seeds (or cumin), curry leaves and peanuts. When the peanuts are nicely brown, add the vegetables. After sauteing for a couple of minutes, add two cups of water and the oatmeal and/or muesli. Season to taste and let the water come to a boil. Stir and remove from heat. Add fresh coriander if you have some. Eat very carefully, it’s hot!




4 thoughts on “Savoury Breakfast Porridge

  1. pamela

    I don’t really love sweet oatmeal either. I don’t make an Indian style savory one but I do make a Japanese style savory one. I use the Japanese dashi, or katsuoboshi soup stock, instead of plain water and Japanese miso, soy bean paste. Just a tablespoon or so in a big pot. Let that cook for 15 minutes or so.

    We all use too much added sugar anyway. It is better to try other options. I just heard on Japanese TV that one bottle of cider, a kind of soda pop, has 27 g of sugar! That is just about 1 ounce of sugar!

    • The Minimalist Indian

      Good to know!I do have genmai miso, bonito and kombu sitting in my pantry ‘cos we love miso soup. But I don’t know about making dashi first thing in the morning. Do you make it in bulk and store it in the refrigerator or freezer? What kind of toppings do you like?

      • pamela

        Japanese katsuoboshi dashi can be made in five minutes. It does not require a long cooking like chicken or beef. I use no special topping. You could add some cooked vegetables if you like. Just be careful to go easy on the miso as if you add too much it will get too salty and too strong.

        One thing that I think really makes a big difference is to toast the uncooked oats in sesame oil, just 1 tablespoon or so of sesame oil, until the oats turn a little golden brown. This you can do the day before as it does take a few minutes. One of the results of toasting the Oates is that they do not get so glutinous and gummy.

        Once you have the Dashi made you can cook the toasted oats for about 15 minutes. Add the miso at the end. I said I don’t put any topping in but a little butter is good! LOL

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