My dear and extremely well-traveled friend Tracy made savory oatmeal for me for the first time a few years ago. This version inspired by her many trips to India is my favorite.
As a person who loves oatmeal but doesn’t like sweet food in the morning, I am forever in her debt. This dish takes about a half hour to make, but reheats very well, so you can make a big batch for the week if you love a savory breakfast too. This porridge is chewy and nutty, not creamy, and to get this result, steel cut oats are a must.
For add-ins, play around: search the veg bin, use what you love or use up what needs using up!
Sourcing mustard oil, turmeric root, and fresh curry leaves is worth the effort here, but swapping in olive oil and dry turmeric powder also yields delicious results. This version has a good kick from the fresh chilies, so adjust for your palate. It goes like this:
2T mustard oil, or oil of your choice
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 or 3 whole curry leaves
2 Thai chiles, or 1 jalapeno, sliced
2 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 inch piece turmeric, grated or 1 teaspoon dry turmeric
1 cup steel cut oats
2½ cups water
2 scallions, sliced
Handful of chopped cilantro
¼ cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
Greek yogurt or labneh (optional, but really good)
In a shallow skillet heat the oil and sauté the shallots, curry leaves, chilies, ginger, and turmeric until the shallots begin to brown.
Add the oats and stir to coat with oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until almost all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes, or longer. It won’t overcook or get mushy if it sits.
When ready to serve stir in the scallions, cilantro and peanuts. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or labneh, or enjoy it plain.