Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Curried Oatmeal Risotto

Curried Oatmeal Risotto
This savory side says oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast

OK, “risotto” derives from the Italian word for rice. But other grains can play too. And making a risotto-like dish from oatmeal takes less time and effort than using traditional rice.

This Curried Oatmeal Risotto also happens to make a terrific side dish for roast meat or fowl. It even has enough flavor to stand alone as a first course.

Savory oatmeal? Who knew?

 

Curried Oatmeal Risotto

Recipe: Curried Oatmeal Risotto

We got the idea for this dish years ago from Mark Bittman’s column in the New York Times, around the time he began his vegan-before-six (o’clock) diet and was trying to figure out how to incorporate oatmeal into breakfast without serving it as a traditional cereal (that is, sweetened with sugar and swimming in milk). He developed some interesting Asian-flavored recipes using oatmeal – which, alas, we didn’t record (but did take note of). So his experiments inspired ours.

We use old-fashioned rolled oats (not “instant” or “quick cooking”) for this dish. Their faint nutty taste blends well with the other flavorings in this recipe.

We use minced ginger, garlic, and jalapeño in this dish. We chop these by hand – but you could just whirl them in a mini food processor if you prefer.

Prep time for this dish is 5 to 10 minutes (depending on how proficient you are with a knife). Cooking time adds another 10 to 15 minutes.

This dish yields 3 to 4 side-dish servings. Or 2 small first-course servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ~½ bunch thinly sliced scallions (remove the root ends and wash the scallions thoroughly before slicing)
  • salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
  • ~1 teaspoon peeled, minced ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, cleaned and finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (or more to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats 
  • 1½ cups warm chicken stock (see Notes; may substitute vegetable stock or water)
  • jalapeño rounds for garnish (optional)

 Procedure

  1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized (about 9-inch) frying pan, preferably nonstick. When the butter is hot, add the scallions. Season with salt, then sauté until the scallions are just tender (3 to 4 minutes).
  2. Add the ginger, garlic, and jalapeño. Cook for 1 minute. Add the curry powder and turmeric. Stir to combine. Add the oats. Stir to combine with the other ingredients. Then toast everything in the pan for 1 minute, stirring often.
  3. Add the chicken stock. Stir to combine, then cook until all the liquid is absorbed (5 to 7 minutes – see Notes). Stir occasionally as the oatmeal cooks.
  4. Taste the dish and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Then serve and enjoy, garnishing each dish with a jalapeño round if you wish. 

Curried Oatmeal Risotto
Notes

  • You can vary ingredient quantities in this recipe to suit your taste. 
  • Or substitute ingredients. A few tablespoons of diced red onion would make a dandy substitute for scallions, for example.
  • It’s also easy to double the size of this recipe.
  • Why use old-fashioned oats rather than “instant” or “quick” oats? Because they take longer to cook – which is a virtue in this case. Longer cooking lets the oats absorb the chicken stock more completely, giving the dish better flavor. 
  • You can warm the chicken stock by placing it in a Pyrex measuring cup, then microwaving it for a couple of minutes. We often add the turmeric to the chicken stock instead of adding it to the frying pan (Step 2) because we like how it colors and flavors the stock.
  • We prefer this dish to be fairly dry, so we cook it until all the stock is absorbed (and any excess evaporates). If you like a more liquidy dish, just cook it until the oatmeal reaches the consistency you prefer. 
  • Want extra flavor and color? Try stirring a few tablespoons of chopped cilantro into the cooked oatmeal right before serving.
  • This dish will be as tender as traditional risotto, but its texture will be a bit more gummy. Because oatmeal.
  • Risotto traditionally is made from short-grained arborio rice. But other grains offer an interesting twist on the theme. In addition to oatmeal, you could try barley, wheat berries, or quinoa.
  • We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (because the crystals pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.

Curried Oatmeal Risotto
Playing with Our Food

“Is this an April Fool’s joke?” asked Mrs. Kitchen Riffs as she eyed her plate. “Oatmeal? As risotto? With curry flavors?”

“Why not?” I said. “It’s fun to experiment. And combining curry with porridge gives us courage.”

“That’s terrible, even by your standards,” said Mrs K R.

“I do like to push the envelope,” I said. “Or the frying pun, in this case.”

“I’m not usually fond of oatmeal,” said Mrs K R. “Due to my post-Haggis stress disorder. But this isn’t bad.”

OK. With that, we’ll curry on.

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82 comments:

  1. That looks so interesting, John. I've heard rumors and even rumors of rumors about savory oatmeal, but I've never seen a recipe. I eat oatmeal most mornings, and I'm often concerned about the amount of sugar I like to heap into it. I'll have to try this. I do like savory breakfasts, after all.

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    1. Hi Jeff, this dish is a lot of fun. And it'd make a wonderful breakfast! Or lunch, or side for dinner . . . :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. I love oatmeal. I have made savory oatmeal for breakfast many times and it definitely makes a great dinner. I love this spin on flavors.

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    1. Hi Pat and Dahn, isn't this a fun dish? Tons of flavor, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. I’ve done risotto with barley and wheat berries and they were wonderful, I’d never thought of oatmeal. I’m not a huge fan of gummy so I think I’d prefer it on the drier side too.
    I met Mark a few years ago when he was flogging his vegetarian cookbook, I cooked a few dishes for an appearance on a morning show, he is a truly lovely gentleman. His daughter called me a few days later to tell me he was so pleased with the dishes. It was super fun and I learned a few things vegetarian!
    Have a great long weekend.
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Eva, great that you got to meet Mark Bittman! That sounds like fun. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. This recipe certainly is adventurous- oatmeal and curry in a risotto? This is the first time I've seen a risotto recipe without using white wine as the base. Let's pat Mark Bittman (and you) for coming up with such a unique recipe!

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    1. Hi Fran, I thought about white wine, but just doesn't work with curry (IMO). Now beer, maybe . . . :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Savory oatmeal is a big yes in my world. It's always fun to mix up foods to create something different.

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    1. Hi Laura, we're love playing in the kitchen! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Never had savory oatmeal before. Sounds tasty.

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    1. Hi Pam, very tasty. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. I love that you made risotto using oatmeal. So creative!

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    1. Hi Ashley, isn't this fun? And really good. Really, really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. A really new idea! I know people who put salt and butter on their breakfast oatmeal, but this takes it to new levels.

    be safe... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, isn't this nice? A fun dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Wow, you've given us a whole new way to look at oatmeal—and plenty of room to experiment on our own! We often eat the standard version for breakfast when we want something that will power us through until lunch. I imagine this has the same stick-to-the-ribs quality. Fascinating recipe, John!

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    1. Hi Terry, this is definitely a hefty dish! And there are so many things you can do with this -- fun to play with. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. Such a fun and delicious creation! I love oatmeal, sweet or savoury. Thanks, John, for sharing such a creative recipe.

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    1. Hi Angie, this really is fun, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. I guess oats are popular this week! Be still my fainting heart!

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    1. Hi Abbe, a LOT of oat recipes this week, including your most excellent one. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. You have given me so many ideas for savory oatmeal with this. Fabulous Creation. Healthy, delicious and so pleasing to look at.

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    1. Hi Ansh, we aim to please. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Savory oatmeal is quite common in Asia too. Love your warming spices for a delightful pantry recipe. Love that little chew of the oatmeal, especially with steel cut or old fashion oats. Budget friendly too. Wishing you a fabulous weekend ahead.

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    1. Hi Bobbi, this is definitely budget friendly! Haven't tried this with steel-but oats yet, but plan to one of these days. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Wowo savory oatmeal!! this is very new and interesting to me. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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    1. Hi Amira, really interesting to us, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. I was about to say that you had disproved the statement 'There is nothing new under the sun' with your recipe - then I read Bobbi's comment and well remembered eating and liking savoury oatmeal dishes in SE Asia. Shall try - definitely with spring onions both for looks and taste and possibly changing the jalapeno for lemongrass . . . ! Have used barley in risotto-like dishes and enjoyed the consistency . . . ave a pleasant Easter break . . .

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    1. Hi Eha, I like the lemongrass idea -- that would be terrific in this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Well this is different, very unique! Sounds good to me but it wouldn't work in this house at all since I'm the only oatmeal lover. Very interesting and something to make for myself! Thanks, John!

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    1. Hi Pam, that just means more for you. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. wow i think i am a bit speechless here Savoury oat risotto? i am agape. I'm sure it tasted good, but it just is a bit mind-boggling... Happy easter and keep on oating:)

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    1. Hi Sherry, it is rather an odd dish, isn't it? Fun one, though. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. I love oatmeal, and I've even had savoury oatmeal; however, nothing serious - just lightly salted porridge with cheese. But say what?! Curried Oatmeal Risotto? That's a totally new level; a very nice and intriguing flavour profile.

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    1. Hi Ben, if you like curry -- and we obviously do! -- this is really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. This is certainly different! A savory oatmeal dish - who would have thought that would be a good thing? :) Great flavor and a very pretty dish. My curiosity has been peaked. This is something I do need to try. Thanks John!

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    1. Hi MJ, I see a green chile version of this in your future. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Long time lurker, first time commenter. Love your creativity (and especially when you steer into cocktails!). I’ve done farrotto a bunch (farro risotto), but this will be new. Any suggestions did modifying with steel cut oats?

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    1. Hi Elliot, welcome! :-) We haven't made this with steel cut oats yet. They'll definitely have more flavor and texture. Of course you could basically follow the recipe, but you'd have to cook them longer. And add more stock, too. It'd be fun to experiment with steel cut oats, that's for sure. Thanks for the comment.

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  21. Well of course this intrigues me. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, it's a fun dish, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. I have eatern something similar for breakfast and enjoyed it a lot.

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    1. Hi Denise, good stuff, huh? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Yes who knew, and why not indeed. Very cost effective as well, and of course I will try this. Amazing that you keep posting such creative and different ideas. Thanks so much KR.

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    1. Hi Pauline, we're suckers for fun and different dishes. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. Ha! Your puns always make me giggle! I usually prefer my oatmeal in cookies, but your savory risotto version sounds darn tasty! Happy Easter to you and Mrs. KR.

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    1. Hi Liz, pretty hard to resist oatmeal in cookies -- probably our favorite way of eating it, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. When I saw this on social media I was fascinated, John! I just told Mark about it and I think we will give it a whirl this week!

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    1. Hi David, this is kind of a weird dish, but really good flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Very very interesting! I mean, why not?! Oats are fabulous! Just another grain, except flaked in this case. You could use barley or kamut flakes as well for this recipe. Love the ingredients and flavors!

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    1. Hi Mimi, indeed, just another grain. A nice way to think about oatmeal! Thanks for the comment.

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  27. When I first saw oatmeal and curry in a risotto, I thought April fool but I was off by a day. 😁 You are miles ahead of us in the creativity department...you got us all thinking about savory oatmeal for dinner.

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    1. Hi Karen, this is one of those dishes you either like or not. We like! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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    1. Hi R, it's pretty good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. This is such a fun way to use oats. I really liked your smart use of fresh ginger, garlic, and jalapeño. These add unbeatable flavor to the whole dish!

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    1. Hi Heidi, we love the flavorings in this! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. Wow! This is certainly unique:) Def alot of Asian flavours there.No doubt it would taste great!

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    1. Hi SC, isn't this an interesting way to serve oatmeal? SO good! Thanks for the comment.

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  31. Wow - this is a totally unique and very intriguing recipe! I've never seen a curried oatmeal before and I bet it's so flavorful and good for any meal of the day.

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    1. Hi Amy, it's such a fun dish -- tons of flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. I've also had savory oat meal dishes in India and China, but I never tried to duplicate them here. I love the playfulness of your curried oatmeal risotto. I'm curious as to how the dish would taste with rice. Thanks for sharing this one.

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    1. Hi Ron, haven't actually done this with rice, but it should be good. If nothing else, you could treat it as fried rice, using leftover rice. Thanks for the comment.

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  33. Curry spices makes everything shine!

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    1. Hi Raymund, can't beat curry, can you? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  34. I'm totally intrigued by this recipe and will give it a go. I've never had savory oatmeal and I love the idea! :-) ~Valentina

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    1. Hi Valentina, this is fun! Odd, but fun. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  35. This looks so good - and what a great idea to have savoury oatmeal. I've seen that idea before but I've never actually tried it. Love the flavours in this, John!

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    1. Hi Katerina, if you like oatmeal, this is worth a try. It's definitely different! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  36. We all need a bit more courage! :) I'm not sure I could get past the idea of breakfast oatmeal, though. Interesting recipe. Love the flavors!

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    1. Hi Debra, it took me quite a while to wrap my mind around this dish -- that whole "oatmeal means breakfast" thing. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  37. John, I've come across a few recipes for savory oats that have caught my eye, like this one, but I've not built up the courage to try any of them. I love how you called this 'oatmeal risotto', it gives a lot of perspective for me. Wonderful flavors in this dish, you've talked me into giving it a go!!

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    1. HI Marcelle, we struggled with deciding what to call this. It really seems a lot like risotto, so that's what we decided on. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  38. such an interesting idea. It almost reminds me of stuffing. Love it!

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    1. Hi Judee, it is a bit like stuffing! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  39. I always prefer my oatmeal to be savoury and it goes without saying that I am totally in love with your curried oatmeal risotto :)

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    1. Hi Taruna, savory oatmeal is good, isn't it? Fun flavors in this one! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  40. The first time I told my husband I was going to make a savory oatmeal with an egg on top for dinner, he thought I was crazy. But after one taste, he was sold. If rice can be used in both sweet and savory applications, why not oatmeal, right? ;)

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    1. Hi Carolyn, an egg is wonderful on top of this sort of oatmeal. And a glass of wine to drink with it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  41. What an interesting idea John. I always have oatmeal around!

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    1. Hi Inger, this is one of those dishes that not everyone will like, but those that do will love. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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