Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Oats a la Pongal

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.

Inspiration Strikes

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.

Oats Pongal

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.

20 comments:

Suganya said...

Incredible idea. Oats is the perfect texture a pongal should have.

DEEPA said...

very healthy pongal .Different one .

Komal said...

Hi

You've been tagged

http://komalzdesai.blogspot.com/2007/07/7-random-facts.html

bee said...

brilliant. i am partial to steel cut oats too.

Anita said...

Very innovative, and perhaps, the best way to eat gooey oats. :-D

Manisha said...

Hey, take care. I hope your reports are normal now and that you are feeling better, too.

Coffee said...

What a name!! :) Lovely recipe ET. :)

Roopa said...

wow the dish is looking excellent!

TheCooker said...

Take care ,lady.
The oats looks delicious.
I tagged you for the random facts me-me, but I noticed you've already been tagged.
http://the-cooker.blogspot.com/2007/07/me-me-divine-flower.html

Asha said...

YUM!! Sounds and looks great.I will make it although I have to the regular Quick Oats.Thanks.

Kelly Mahoney said...

Pretty dish, looks yummy. I love carbs too and I'd have a hard time cutting back.

Cynthia said...

I'm glad you found an alternative that has you hooked. Anything to have those oats huh? :)

Archana, mama of twins said...

Yum! i love oats and pongal. I use oats that aren't quick cooking but arn't as slow as steel cut and get done in about 5-10 minutes and this would be perfect with it.

evolvingtastes said...

Thanks you all for leaving your comments.

Hi Komal! Your first comment here and you are tagging me? Ok, I'll play - just give me a little time. Had never seen your blog before but I will be coming over again.

Anita, steel cut oats do not get gooey at all, and retain a lot of texture!

evolvingtastes said...

Hello and welcome also to Deepa and Archana (mama of twins, awww)

vegeyum said...

This sounds so very very good.

evolvingtastes said...

vegeyum, thanks. I hope you give it a try.

cuminthebarbarian said...

Well these BlogSpot clowns don't seem to support pingbacks or trackbacks and Google is demanding to know my phone number before I can add to the "Links to this post" below, so I'll just add a comment.

I was missing a bunch of the ingredients, then got overly enthusiastic about improvising, so what I made is probably nothing like what you meant; but it still tastes pretty damn good. I put up my recipe at

Wikia Recipes: Pongal Oats with Lentils and Sesame Seeds

evolvingtastes said...

Cumin, thanks for letting me know! Your version looks just as good.

mehak kashish said...

awful piece of information, I had come to know about your blog from my friend vimal, mumbai,i have read atleast 13 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your blog gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a million once again, Regards, chakkara pongal recipe

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