Savoury Oatmeal Porridge With Vegetables
Oats is not a cereal traditionally eaten in India, and probably came over with the British. Back home, oats does make a rare appearance as "kanji" or gruel/ porridge. Again, I am assuming that this practice must have come about from the British tradition of having oats as porridge, though I've rarely seen anyone having "oats kanji" for breakfast in the past. These days I do find more people having it for breakfast when they don't have much time to make or eat breakfast, yet would prefer to start the day with something healthy and filling. Then there are also those who dislike oats and refer to it as "horse feed"!
Well, everyone's entitled to their opinion but there is no denying the benefits of including a healthy amount of oats in one's diet.
I am the only one in our home who likes oats though my husband and our daughter don't mind oats so long as it's "neither seen nor heard" as in cookies, granola, muesli, pie crusts, pizza bases and other bread. Much as I like oats, the one way I dislike having it is the way most people in India eat it, as "Oats Kanji" where "kanji" means porridge/ gruel. Most people here seem to love the oats sweet with milk and sugar. Even the additon of fruit and nuts couldn't tempt me to have it this way.
I like my oatmeal porridge salty! This might sound odd, but I understand that I'm in good company. The Scots originally made their oatmeal porridge using salt because cream and sugar were very expensive.
A lot of Indian brands have now come out with pre-packaged savoury oatmeal but years before they thought of it, my mother used to make a savoury oatmeal porridge, that was lightly spiced with vegetables in it. Here in India, I find that most people eat their oatmeal sweet and find my love for salt in mine a bit strange. I have been known to have this not only for breakfast but also for lunch on days when I have only myself to cook for! This version of oatmeal porridge is easy to cook, healthy and very filling.
- For the mixed vegetables, I usually use all or some of these, depending on what I have - potatoes, green peas, green beans, carrot, sweet corn and or green cabbage. Steam cook all the vegetables (except ginger and onion) till just done. I do this in the microwave at 100% for about 5 to 6 minutes. Keep aside.
- In a pan, heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds, sauté and then add the ginger and onions. Sauté till the onions become soft. Now add 2 1/2 or 3 cups of water (depending on the required consistency) and the salt. Bring to a boil.
- Add the vegetables and the oats. Stir well, over medium heat, till the oats is cooked and the porridge becomes a little thicker in consistency. This porridge should not be very thick, but more like a thick soup. Season, to taste, with pepper.
- Serve hot with fresh fruit on the side, and coffee/ tea for a very filling breakfast/ brunch.