Savory Asian-style Steel Cut Oatmeal

>>  Sunday, February 14, 2010

I love the chewy texture of steel cut oatmeal. It's hard to go back to regular oatmeal once you've tried steel cut.

What's the difference? Well, both are oats.  They differ in the way that they are processed.  The first step is the same. Wheat berries are cleaned and their hulls removed, leaving the inside kernels (called the groat). For steel cut oatmeal, these groats are then cut into small pieces with steel blades. For regular oatmeal, the groats are steamed, flattened, and then dried.

Because steel cut oats are much thicker than rolled oats, steel cut oatmeal takes A LOT longer to cook.  On the stove top, steel cut oats take about 30 minutes, although you can buy "quick" steel cut oats that cook in about 6 minutes.

I decided to do a twist on traditional oatmeal by making mine savory and Asian style.  I find this dish comforting and very satisfying in the morning.  It reminds me of Chinese congee but healthier!

Steel Cut Oatmeal
total time - 40 minutes (note: you can prepare the oatmeal the night before)
serves 4

1 cup steel cut Irish oatmeal
4 cups of water
soy sauce
sesame oil
red pepper flakes (optional)
furikake (optional)

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.  Add 1 cup of oatmeal and stir well.  When the oatmeal begins to thicken (~ 5 minutes), reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  You can refrigerate the oatmeal and heat up small amounts every morning for breakfast.

Now, flavor with your favorite condiments.  I like to mix it with a small amount soy sauce and sesame oil.  I then garnish with scallions, a bit of red pepper flakes, and a healthy dose of Japanese furikake (Japanese seasoning comprising dried seaweed, dried fish flakes, salt, spices, etc).  Of course, you can go crazy and add all the typical Chinese breakfast fixings, like shredded pork sung, chili bamboo shoots, or fermented tofu.  The possibilities are endless!


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