I haven’t been a big fan of oats .. to be honest as a kid I wasn’t even exposed to it, my mum used to cook this traditional wheat based porridge known in Egypt as ‘Belila’ which is usually served with honey and milk, But that was it for porridges..
I have only discovered oats few years ago when I started reading more about healthy eating and looking for alternatives to wheat, especially for breakfast.
Since then, I’ve been trying a couple of ways to cook these oats, and this classic good old way I’m sharing with you, has become a favourite at home.
So, what are oats?
a grain originating from an ancient plant
Oats have been cultivated for more than 2000 years in various regions through out the world,
They were a dietary staple in many European countries such as Britain, Germany and Scandinavia.
So oats are definitely not a new discovery, they are gaining popularity now though with this huge health food movement, mainly because of their amazing health benefits.
Let me tell you, why this breakfast could easily be considered the healthiest one ever!
- contain more soluble fibre than any other grain, helping to lower cholesterol levels
- the fibre and protein content results in slower digestion and an extended sensation of fullness(great as a ‘Sohour’ meal ; for those who are fasting in Ramadan)
- help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, great for diabetics
- contain Iron, manganese, zinc, vitamin E, B vitamins, selenium, phosphorous and more
- rich in antioxidants, detoxing the body and help reduce weight by burning more fat.
You might find that there are different forms of oats ..
Steel cut oats, rolled oats, quick oats, instant oats, oat bran, oat groats and oat flour.
They have different uses in a variety of dishes
I’m using the classic rolled oats for this porridge
‘steel cut oats’ could also be used in porridges, they have a chewy texture, they could be more challenging to find sometimes though
I like to soak my oats over night, first to decrease the time of cooking in the morning so that there are no excuses to skip breaky, second is because it increases the nutritional value and makes it so easy to digest.
There are different opinions on soaking oats before cooking though, so you could skip this step and cook them as is if you like, they will still be as creamy and delicious !!
Add water bring to boil then lower the heat , simmer and stir with the back of a wooden spoon, no milk at this stage ..
while simmering, add a pinch of salt to bring out the flavour of oats
keep stirring until oats break down to a creamy oozy texture.. about 8-10 mins if oats are soaked..
Now, it’s time to portion and add your favourite toppings ..
Here are four different delicious toppings ideas for you to choose from..
emmm! which one would Goldilocks choose ??
I mean, which one is juuuuust right for you?
adding fruits to your porridge is always a winner!
choose some in season .. and make your own
my favourites are known to be the fruits of heaven!
“pomegranate and figs”
they add so much nutritional value to an already super healthy meal..
A middle eastern twist to a classic ‘maple syrup’ British porridge this is.
Other ideas ..
Sprinkle fine coconut sugar or brown sugar on top of hot porridge to form a thin sugary layer, leave for two minutes to caramelize, then score gently with a knife to break into caramel forming a checkered pattern, pour some milk into score marks then dig in ..
heat some raspberries in a small pan with a splash of water for 2 mins
Sprinkle some raw cacao powder on top of porridge, then add the warm softened raspberries and a splash of cold milk ..
the ideas are endless ..
for peanut butter fans including me the combination of home made peanut butter and raw cocoa powder is delicious!
Mash some ripe bananas with a fork, mix them with the hot porridge, sprinkle with cinnamon and top it with crushed pecans or almonds, drizzle some extra honey if needed .. Yum!
Cover your porridge with blueberries and shredded coconut, add a pinch of cinnamon. This one looks so sexy and tastes delicious !!
the main thing is to make your own porridge the way you will enjoy it the most !
< bon a petit >
- 1 huge mug (or 2 small mugs) of Organic whole grain stabilized rolled oats
- Twice as much water as oats for over night soaked oats
- Triple as much water as dry oats. (so the ratio is normally 1:3 oats : cooking water but with soaked oats you would need less water to cook so ratio is 1:2 oats to cooking water.
- Quarter a cup of full cream milk and extra in a jug for serving.
- 2 tablespoons of natural organic honey and extra for serving.
- a pinch of salt
- your favourite fruit and nuts for the topping.
- Measure 1 huge mug of rolled oats (or 2 small mugs)
- add oats to a deep bowl and cover with water, soak in fridge overnight (optional)
- place soaked oats in a drainer, rinse with cold running water then drain well trying to get rid of as much water as possible. if not soaking then add dry oats to a pan and proceed to next step.
- Transfer to a large pan and toast on medium heat for 2-3 minutes to release the nutty flavour.
- Now, in a heavy based non stick pan ,add the toasted oats and cold water, stir on medium-high heat until it starts boiling, add a pinch of salt (important) then simmer on low heat, stirring with the back of a wooden spoon to maintain consistency and avoid sticking.
- keep stirring on low heat for 8-10 mins for soaked oats and about for 10 -15 mins for unsoaked ones.
- when you reach a creamy oozy texture, add a splash of milk and the honey, stir to combine.
- Turn heat off.
- Start to portion in bowls.
- Add your favourite toppings.
- Try the ideas shown above, or simply make your own combination of flavours using seasonal fruits and natural nuts.
- serve immediately with extra yogurt, fruit, cold milk and honey.