Experiments in Cooking

Basic savory oats

There is a time and a place for a well made batch of masala oats, cooked lovingly with onions, spices, and veggies. Other days, you want a kitchen hack. This is one of those days. There is nothing that inspires laziness in me quite like “Breakfast for One” does, the family having left for work & school.

I tend to make 3-4 days worth of steel cut oats with no salt or sugar added. I add in a handful of slivered almonds, because they work well with sweet or savory flavors. (Besides, ALMONDS. Enough said.) This morning, I felt like a quick spicy pick-me-up. None of that brown sugar for me on this winter day!

I made a simple flavor profile. Clockwise from top: dried red chilis, urad dal, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, asfoetida powder, home-made ghee.

Once you have warmed your bland cooked oats to desired temp, adding water if needed, prepare the spices. Following quantities are for a small single serving.

I use the world’s tiniest wok-shaped thing for this. You could also call it a giant ladle. In any case, with any pot/pan/tool, do the following:

  1. Heat 1 tsp ghee
  2. Add 1/4 tsp mustard seeds. Count to 5. Add 1/4 tsp urad dal and 2″ of dried red chillis.
  3. When either the mustard seeds are done spluttering -or- the urad is turning red, whichever comes FIRST, take it off the heat.
  4. Add a dash of asfoetida & pinch of turmeric to the ghee. Dump the contents of your pan right away into the oats. You don’t want either of these last two spices to overcook.
  5. Mix in, then add salt to taste and eat it up!

For my oats I like to cook with Trader Joe’s Quick Steel Cut oats. These cook up in about 7 minutes, not including any optional roasting you might do. Some days I eat it with molasses & coconut, some days with spices, some days with just dried fruit & nuts. I like cooking the oats plain so that I can take it out of the fridge & do whatever I want with it every morning.