As the weather promises to get cooler (more in theory than in reality in this still hot Middle East, the palate begins to crave foods associated with the cooler fall/winter season. Oatmeal, especially the non-quick-cooking-rolled-jumbo whole grain rolled and unprocessed oats as well as the even more intact steel cut variety, is a great meal any time of day. Traditionally served for breakfast, lovers of oats will have it whenever the mood calls for it and it is a pretty event-free meal.
If you are gluten-intolerant or sensitive, you need not do without oats anymore. There is a Gluten Free version of wholegrain rolled oats by Bob’s Red Mill that you may use. If you are living in Dubai, you can find this at the Organic Foods & Cafe stores.
This recipe is also diabetic-friendly (for those who can handle grains and beets).
Let us hasten to warn you that not all oats are created equal. As they go, you have a few categories:
- Steel Cut Oats (preserving the bran). These take the longest to cook.
- Rolled whole grain oats (separated further into processed and unprocessed. The thicker organic versions have less processing. The thicker and bigger, the better
- Rolled Whole Grain Gluten-Free Oats
- Quick Oats/Instant. These have the bran fibre removed and have been made into smaller fragments for quicker cooking. These cook the quickest and are the least nutritious of the lot.
We have a few oatmeal recipes from our kitchen, but decided to share the most dynamic one so far- Beet Oatmeal. This is also a great way to disguise the plain beige coloured oats from children who are not too inclined. Here is what you will need to pull off this coup d’état.
1/2 cup whole grain rolled oats
120g or less single beet
2 cups water
2 allspice berries
2 green cardamom pods
1 black cardamom pod
1 tsp vanilla (or less than 1/8th of the vanilla paste shown)
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of salt
1 packets Stevia
Method: Peel beet, slice thinly and put in a saucepan with water, allspice, cloves and cardamom and cook them on medium heat until very soft.
When cooked, take a small strainer and get all the beets and spices out of the pot.
Set them aside. Note the black cardamom is the biggest black spice. Instead of buying all of the spices separately, get a small pack of whole garam masala and pick out the ones you will need. You will have to buy allspice, and nutmeg separately but you can use the cinnamon bark in the garam masala mix instead of ground cinnamon. Now back to the pot…
You will be left with a lovely base for your oatmeal in a vibrant shade of red.
Now you should throw away the spices and quickly puree your beet. You can forego this step and simply leave out the purree if you want a milder flavour, or simply don’t feel like doing this.
Add your oatmeal and reduce heat to a low setting. You want the oats to cook slowly in a the liquid which should be about 1 1/2 cup. It will also give you enough time to add your other spices…
Add your vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and stir often
Add a tablespoon of the beet puree and stir well. Taste and serve.