I knew there was something weird about oatmeal always being flogged to tasting sweet and not being at all filling. If it had been something that was used more in let’s say, Chinese or let’s say Indian cooking, we’d probably be more intuitively eating it like we already do rice. I think we’re totally biased about how we eat oatmeal because it’s a primarily western-eaten grain, usually only consumed with sweet toppings.
I mean if you think about it, risotto is basically just the Italian way of making Chinese jook/congee, right? So if we just swap out rice for oatmeal, I imagine that there are absolutely no limits to what kinds of flavour combination profiles would match up brilliantly with oatmeal. The only difference being of course, is that it’s a heartier grain with slightly more flavour. It’s certainly not a deterrent, in my opinion, and plus: It means that suddenly you’ve opened up so many more options and flavour combinations.
My favourite toppings for jook happen to include: green onions, black eggs, and a generous splosh of fish sauce. I honestly don’t see that as being a bad combination even with oatmeal, the only difference is that it’s unlikely that I would need to dunk in the Chinese doughnuts because you’ve already got that wheat-y flavour profile in the oatmeal… not that there’s ever anything wrong with dunking fried dough in stuff, I’d just have to make sure that the oatmeal was a lot soupier than I currently make it. ;)
Anything that you eat with rice, would honestly be perfectly acceptably used on top of oatmeal. In fact, you don’t even have to cook it with anything like broth or stock, however you normally cook it for breakfast is fine and dandy! It’s been so long since I played around with oatmeal topping combinations that I forgot how enjoyable it was. I think that using steel cut oats is definitely preferable than the usual fast cooking rolled oats, just because it gives great creaminess plus the extra chewy bits of oatmeal makes for nice textural contrast. By all means though, if all you have is just regular oatmeal, use that absolutely!
I think that as a basic template: some kind of leftover protein + cheese + some kind of green vegetable matter + seasoning + drizzle of flavoured oil at the end, is the fastest, easiest and tastiest way to eat oatmeal. Not to mention most filling ;D
If I had it on-hand, I would love to fry up some mushrooms with garlic & lots of fresh thyme, and serve them over the oatmeal with a few pieces of emmental or other swiss cheese. Soy sauce, fried/poached egg with a runny yolk, with sesame oil and some chopped green onions would be amazing. Plus, I’d really love to make a batch using miso, some nori, a poached/fried egg and maybe some furikake sprinkled on top at the end would be pretty awesome.
Vague Savoury Oatmeal Recipe Template – serves 1 generously
2 1/4 cups water
1/2 steel cut oats
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Optional: better than bouillon chicken base, miso paste, dashi stock, etc
Optional: leftover bits of meat (like steak, ham, etc), cheese, fried/poached egg, etc
Optional: cooked kale, caramelized onions, garlicky mushrooms, etc
Optional: chopped green onions, toasted & crumbled nori, sesame seeds, furikake, etc
Optional: butter, garlic infused olive oil, sesame oil, balsamic vinegar, etc
Bring water & chicken base to a boil.
Add oatmeal and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occassionally.
When oatmeal is cooked, add your optional toppings, I used Snowdonia Cheese Company’s Beechwood Cheddar + leftover bits of steak with slices of garlic chips cut into small pieces, then season with a couple grinds of pepper to taste and serve with bit of flavourful oil, like a drizzle of garlic olive oil, before serving with a giant spoon.