It is an irony of fate that soon after I wrote my post declaring my favorite breakfast to be oats, brown sugar and raisins, I received two blows. First, I was told by my doctor to watch my carbs. I wasn't at a point where I had to bring it down, but where it would be better to keep an eye on it. The bigger blow however was that my blood calcium was found to be too high, and that had to be addressed more urgently. As investigations continued, I practically gave up paneer, cheese, and mithai, and switched from milk to soymilk for the most part.
This double whammy was what really led to my search for an alternative to my regular breakfast of cereal or oats with milk; something lower in sugar as well as calcium and ready to make in minutes. Since I like oats a lot, I didn't want to give it up, and thought that something made with it would really fit the bill.
Earlier this year I did a 5K run, at the end of which runners were rewarded to a nourishing Pongal breakfast sponsored by a local restaurant. The soft, well cooked runny rice and dal seasoned with whole black peppers, curry leaves and cashews, with a river of ghee flowing through it was a delicious way to replenish spent calories, and then some.
That was the source of inspiration to try making such a pongal at home for breafast, not with rice, but oats. I turned to my favorite book of Tamilian cooking, 'Dakshin', knowing that it had a pongal recipe. I substituted the rice and moong dal with an equivalent amount of oats by volume, and used just a teaspoon of ghee, brought way down from the stated amount. I absolutely loved the result and I am quite hooked to it now.
Method to make Pongal Style Oats
Cook about a cup of steel-cut Irish oats with four cups of water. You can even do this in a pressure cooker. When you are ready to make the pongal, make a coarse powder with a pinch of cumin seeds and a few black peppercorns in a mortal and pestle. Grate a little ginger to yield about half a teaspoon. In a sauce pan, heat a little ghee, add the powder to it, along with a few fresh leaves of curry patta, a tablespoon of chopped cashews, hing, grated ginger, and stir it together, followed immediately by the cooked oats. Add a pinch of salt, and some water as required, a little at a time, to keep the oats mixture to a runny consistency.
You could also add a tiny pinch of turmeric to the oats, and additional ghee if you like.
I am sending this to WBB #13 : Oats.