Thursday, January 17, 2008
Oatmeal & Seaweeds
I admit it may sound weird. But this is the way I eat my oatmeal.
I think it's well-established that the oatmeal is good for you; it helps to lower the cholesterol, provides fiber and much-needed carbohydrate to keep you through the morning. The best part is it's warm! So for a long time the oatmeal was on my "I want to have this for breakfast" food list. There was one obstacle, however. I couldn't stand the taste of it.
Mind you, the oatmeal itself is quite bland. That's why it's commonly cooked with variety of flavorings such as brown sugar, apple-cinnamon, maple syrup, etc. Well, I enjoy cold cereal that's slightly sweetened with bananas or other fruits. And I love muffins - what an excuse for having a 'cupcake' for breakfast - that's sweet and warm. But there lingered something about the warm temperature and sweetness combined with that particular texture of cooked oatmeal. I can't put my finger on it: something deeply hidden inside me, on emotional level, finds it almost repulsive. I tried to overcome that feeling, but just couldn't. Therefore the oatmeal remained untouchable.
Until one day: Eureka! It hit me. The cooked oatmeal is a porridge made with oats. I love porridge made with rice (called 'ojiya'). So... why can't I cook the oatmeal, not with sugar, honey or syrup, but instead with savory alternative such as soy sauce?
Because of the short cooking time, my choice is Quaker Oats Quick 1-minute oatmeal. I remember my grandma used to say: "Eat your seaweeds and your hair will remain full, strong and dark". So I sprinkle some dried wakame, hijiki, or konbu when cooking. I add vegetables such as green peas or corn, something small and cooks fast. Adding grated ginger also boosts the flavor. And when I feel the need of protein, I crack an egg on top (make sure to break the yolk before placing in the microwave). Cooking time varies depending on the additives, but it usually goes like this: 2 minutes on High, stir, 1 minute High, stir again, and 40 seconds to get to the desired texture. I am a happy oatmeal eater ever since.
Sometimes you have to Think Outside the Box.