oat and sweet potato porridge

oat sweet potato porridge

This past week was a lot of crazy things but it ended with a great surprise. I received an email informing me that I was included in the Top 10 Healthy Food Bloggers of 2014 by the wonderful and very kind folks at Better Homes and Garden. I won't lie, I was blown away and completely ecstatic to be included among these talented and inspiring bloggers. Though, I'm not in the running for the final awards, please do stop by their site and vote for some of the amazing food bloggers in this and other categories. 

sweet potato

I should have titled this post as "out with the milk". You see, I ran out of milk this week, no dairy or nut or any other type of milk at home for my morning oats. When it comes to eating my breakfast oats, I need something other than water in it. I usually add some milk, a dash of vanilla and a little fruit to my oatmeal but I was out of options. Desperation led to making a sweet potato based porridge that at first I was unsure about sharing but once I tasted it, I knew I should. Plus, I think my trainer  might be pleased with this one, since she keeps asking me to increase my sweet potato intake.

golden raisins

I flavored the sweet potato puree with freshly ground green cardamom seeds but as I've mentioned in the recipe, cinnamon works great too! So if you don't have or don't like either spice, feel free to swap or leave them out completely. If you do leave them out then I recommend increasing the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon. I didn't make this very sweet because personally, I am not a big fan of very sugary breakfasts but do go generous with the raisins, they provide little bursts of sweet surprises with every spoonful you taste that will make you smile. 

oat and sweet potato porridge

oat and sweet potato porridge

yields: 4-6 servings

ingredients

1 lb sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and diced
4 cups water + 2 cups
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon, green cardamom seeds, freshly ground / 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons honey (you can increase if you like it sweeter)
1/4 cup golden raisins (you can be a little generous here)

1. Place the sweet potatoes with the 4 cups of water in a large stock pot. Bring to boil on a medium-high flame and then reduce to medium-low, cover with a lid and cook for about 20 - 25 minutes until completely tender. Remove the stockpot from the stove and using an immersion blender or blender puree the sweet potatoes with its liquid until completely smooth. Keep aside until ready to use. The puree should be thick and velvety in texture. (You can cook it a little longer if it is not thick enough.)
2. Bring the oats and remaining two cups of water in a large saucepan on a medium-high flame to a boil. Reduce the flame to a medium-low and then cook for about 20 minutes until the oats are completely soft and tender. Stir occasionally, to make sure the oats do not stick to the pan. 
3. Add the cooked oats, cardamom, vanilla, salt and honey to the sweet potatoes puree in a large saucepan. Heat the contents of the saucepan on a medium-high flame until it begins to boil with constant stirring. Taste and adjust the sweetness if desired. Fold in the raisins, remove from stove and serve warm.

cracked wheat and coconut milk porridge

cracked porridge with coconut milk and goji berries

Breakfast during the week was and still remains really simple for me. As a kid, it had to be quick so I wouldn't miss the school bus and now it's a moment sandwiched between the gym and work. But I still keep it light and nutritious because breakfast is supposed to be one of the most important meals that sustains us through the day. I often get asked what a traditional Indian breakfast would include but the answer is not an easy one. You can have some many different options depending on which part of the country you visit, each meal reflecting the unique characteristics of that region and what is grown there. One might sweet jalebis (a fried funnel cake like pastry soaked in sugar syrup) served with milk in the North or idlis (steamed rice and lentil cakes) in the South, the options are as endless as they are diverse. You will also find eggs, like my North Indian style scrambled eggs that are spiced, cooked and served with freshly toasted slices of buttered bread.

cracked wheat

This is another one of my favorite breakfast items from the Northern region of India. Cracked wheat or daliya is similar to stone cut oatmeal in structure and shape. As the name suggests, the wheat kernels are cracked and fragmented bits of wheat. Cracked wheat is however different from bulgur, the latter being much finer and smaller in size. I remember large pots of the wheat kernels in paternal grandmother's kitchen being cooked with water till they were tender and then fresh whole milk would be stirred into it and lightly sweetened with sugar. Piping hot bowls of the porridge would then be served and they would be gulped down hungrily.  

cinnamon and goji berries

My recipe here is very different, I use lightened coconut milk to bathe the cooked wheat kernels and I flavor it with cinnamon. I also like to add dried goji berries but you are free to add whatever type of fruit or berry you desire. I personally prefer my porridges to be less sweet so feel free to play around with the amount of sweetener options listed in the recipe. I like the taste of both honey or brown sugar here, so you can use either depending on what you prefer.

cracked wheat and coconut milk porridge

cracked wheat & coconut milk porridge

yields: 2 servings

ingredients

1/2 cup (3 2/5 ounces) cracked wheat
1 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar / 2 tablespoons honey  
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
1 can (403ml) of low-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons dried goji berries (unsweetened, preferably)

1. Place the cracked wheat and water in a medium-sized stockpot and heat on a medium high flame. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the wheat kernels are completely tender. Remove the stockpot from the stove. The mixture will become slightly thick.
2. Fold the rest of the ingredients into the cooked cracked wheat kernels. Taste and adjust the sweetness if necessary. 
3. Place the stockpot back on the stove and heat on medium-low flame to a gentle simmer for 2 minutes, do not allow the porridge to boil. Remove from stove and serve hot.