Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Oatmeal with Old~Fashioned Oats

Old-Fashioned Oats
Old-Fashioned Oats

Oatmeal tests convictions. Its taste, appearance, origins, the varieties available, and the uberhype surrounding its health benefits – oatmeal was a big challenge to this Indian palate. To like or not to like? I wanted to like it.

First, I had problems with its blandness and gooey texture. Overcoming these two traits was the biggest hurdle for me in appreciating oatmeal. Next I had to make a choice. Instant, old-fashioned or steel cut. Steel cut definitely tasted better but it made a steep cut in my budget and the instant tasted too artificial. Finally I settled on old-fashioned oatmeal. The type which takes at least 10 to 15 minutes to cook. I experimented in several ways while trying out the different versions of oatmeal. I tried adding cinnamon, cardamom, apples, nuts, raisins etc. The wisdom I gained was that trying to jazz up oatmeal is like putting makeup on a pig. Oatmeal is oatmeal. No amount of flavorings can change the basic texture and blandness of oatmeal.

Somehow over the years this gooey gruel grew on us. The rest of our day may be filled with flavors and spiciness but we start the day plainly. Oatmeal now forms our breakfast for at least four mornings of the week. Wake up in the morning, put two pots filled with water on the stove. One for oatmeal and one for tea. Brush teeth, get the newspaper. By this time the water will be boiling. Add oatmeal and tea powder. Let them simmer for five to ten minutes. Have them while reading the paper. Vijay likes it plain and I usually add a teaspoon of honey. All of this may sound unglamorous, but comfort is in the ritual of routine, said our elders. I am used to things changing frequently around me and my way of dealing with change is to practise a comforting routine in militant fashion. Even though oatmeal is still a classic case of food I do not eat for the taste, I am glad I choose to like oatmeal and to make it a part of my daily routine.

Steaming Cup of Oatmeal
Steaming Cup of Oatmeal ~ Our Morning Mini Meal

(For two)
Bring three cups of water to a rolling boil on high heat. Add a cup of old-fashioned oats. Simmer for about five minutes on medium heat. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let it sit for another five minutes. Serve to a cup and stir in honey to taste.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Oats (Wednesday February 21, 2007 at 11:29 pm- permalink)
Comments (71)

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71 comments for Oatmeal with Old~Fashioned Oats »

  1. Hi Indira, have you tried it with molasses? Well, I was trying to use up some extra molasses I had, and now I am hooked. DH loves it with dried fruits. Isn’t it wonderful in the morning? When I use old fashioned oats, I crush them with my hands before cooking it so it will cook faster.

    Comment by RP — February 22, 2007 @ 5:17 am

  2. I love oatmeal! I find the texture similar to khichri, i.e. very comforting. I like to add just a bit of brown or white sugar to my oatmeal, and sometimes a bit of powdered cinnamon or nutmeg, and raisins or slivered almonds. But oatmeal is best in cookie form!

    Comment by Uma — February 22, 2007 @ 6:17 am

  3. wonderful post. we use oats a lot in bread baking. will post some recipes shortly.


    Comment by bee — February 22, 2007 @ 6:50 am

  4. Hi Indira:

    In Toronto, there is an almost 100% vegan restaurant called Fresh Their food is amazing and a friend got me their cookbook for christmas. They have a great recipe for an eastern european inspired “Oatmilk”. They recommend quick cooking oats but I’m sure you could use the ones you use with a longer soaking time. So the recipe is simplicity itself. 2 tbsps of quick cooking oats, one banana sliced, a few shakes of cinnamon (i use a few shreds of the bark since I blend in a mixie anyways)and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup is soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and then blended into a smoothie consistency. I have been having this regularly and find it keeps me going well into the morning.

    I’ve also experimented with adding chopped dates to the soaking oats and that works well too.

    Do try it if it strikes your fancy.

    Also, I have a hot water kettle that I use which I find indispensable in my kitchen.

    The oats pic look great!

    Comment by Janani — February 22, 2007 @ 6:55 am

  5. I was wondering when oatmeal would show up on this blog πŸ™‚

    I love oatmeal, though my personal favorite is oat bran. I have mine with some prunes. I add the prunes to water, then let it boil for 5-10 minutes. By this time, the prunes have softened, and it is time to add oat bran/meal.

    Once done, add 1-2 spoonfuls of your favorite granola on top, a bit of soymilk, some honey and the yummiest (and healthy) breakfast is ready.


    Comment by Amit — February 22, 2007 @ 7:27 am

  6. Oatmeal is surely a comforting breakfast Indira. I got bored of the usual ‘cornflakes mornings’ and switched to these. I initially tried the banana+maple syrup flavor, but then immediately got back to the plain old-fashioned. I cook them in a mixture of water and milk/soy milk, and based on my mood add fruits/nuts and sugar/honey is a must.
    One of my roommates told me they made it with buttermilk & salt, not sure. Never tried that version myself.

    Comment by Priya — February 22, 2007 @ 7:40 am

  7. Hi Indira,
    Oatmeal breakfast is the best.I just add pinch of Salt to it.It tastes better when samll pieces of strawberries are added.

    Comment by Radhi — February 22, 2007 @ 7:46 am

  8. I’ve chosen to like Oatmeal too Indira. πŸ™‚

    Whenever my palatte revolts on me, I go to your oats upma. Otherwise it’s plain oatmeal for me. Have you tried adding some dates with it? Sometimes I fancy itup with some blanched & chopped almonds.


    Comment by Mathy Kandasamy — February 22, 2007 @ 7:47 am

  9. Not much of an oatmeal fan either, but now you make it sound alluring

    Comment by sandeepa — February 22, 2007 @ 8:02 am

  10. Hi Indira,

    I eat oatmeal for breakfast everyday. I actually eat my oats with some salt and little bit of pickle. (generally mango ginger or tomato pickle, from priya brand, found in Indian store) Sometimes i even put sambar into it, it becomes like a gooey soup.

    Somehow i dont like it sweet. Recently when i told my friend that i eat my oats with pickle, she was kind of surprised.

    Being from Andhra, I just can’t eat it bland, so has to jazz it up with pickle, which we andhraites are famous for. What do you say…


    Comment by Madhavi — February 22, 2007 @ 8:08 am

  11. I used to eat oatmeal every single day for several months postpartum – and was totally sick of it. But if I had to eat it again, the only way I’d pick is to cook it with half milk, half water, add a handful of dry fruits, and sweeten with honey. This way the gooeyness turns to creaminess. love it or hate it, it is healthy as heck – can’t deny that!

    Comment by @ — February 22, 2007 @ 8:31 am

  12. Your write-up is so very good and as always a pleasure to read. Oatmeal is surely the most comforting breakfast for me almost for 5 days of the week. I use the quick cooking variety and make it in the microwave adding fat-free milk. Its bland but yes my 18 month-old daughter likes it too. Thats a guilt-free breakfast for me.

    Comment by Sapna — February 22, 2007 @ 9:00 am

  13. I am not a great fan of oatmeal myself. But sometimes I like to cook it in water and mix it with curd and salt. A hint of hing and vadu manga saaru adds a good flavor too.

    Comment by Hema — February 22, 2007 @ 9:33 am

  14. Madhavi,

    //I eat oatmeal for breakfast everyday. I actually eat my oats with some salt and little bit of pickle. (generally mango ginger or tomato pickle, from priya brand, found in Indian store) Sometimes i even put sambar into it, it becomes like a gooey soup.//

    thanks for the idea. I’m going to try it with some yoghurt and pickle. got to satisfy my curiosity now..! πŸ™‚


    Comment by Mathy Kandasamy — February 22, 2007 @ 9:35 am

  15. hmm yoghurt and pickle is the one taste I would want to try it. But its very true it is like dressing a pig as Indira says πŸ™‚

    Comment by Revathi — February 22, 2007 @ 9:43 am

  16. WOW Indira
    Avery healthy dish.adding yogurt to it is good idea..

    Comment by swapna — February 22, 2007 @ 10:50 am

  17. mm..i have been wanting to make old fashioned oatmeal for a bit now..but didnt get a chanc, and now realized i dont have the time!
    but here is my trick to get a very filling brekky out of oatmeal (i run 4 miles 2 hours after brekky), add chopped apple, some pecans, whipped cream.
    One day I forgot that this concotion was in my bag when I went to school and had brunch with friends instead, then thought it will be a complete waste, then put it into the fridge, come evening was a very yummy kheer/pudding sort of dish!

    Comment by disha — February 22, 2007 @ 11:10 am

  18. Very healthy and comforting for a morning breakfast! I liked the oatmeal pic!

    Comment by Deepu — February 22, 2007 @ 11:15 am

  19. I like oatmeal,plain with a little brown sugar.My ammamma used to eat oatmeal with pappu (pretty much any pappu) and some pickle and that was pretty good too!

    Comment by Sushma — February 22, 2007 @ 11:49 am

  20. A colleague suggested adding egg to oatmeal on days when u crave for a protein boost and it really tastes very good with it.. almost custard like.

    While my oatmeal is cooking, I beat an egg (white and yellow) in a bowl and add some of the partially cooked oatmeal to it, mix and transfer it back. Let it cook until both are done.

    you’ll have to experiment with the oatmeal – egg ratio until you find something to your taste!


    Comment by Jayashree — February 22, 2007 @ 12:14 pm

  21. The first time ever to read a recipe for plain oatmeal!! I use that for making Kanji / Uppuma / Paayasam. Of all of them, Kanji is the best recipe for a hot soup in the morning to cool your body throughout the day!!

    Comment by Anisha — February 22, 2007 @ 12:28 pm

  22. I too am an oatmeal fan but not just for a breakfast bowl(though I love finely milled oat bran). The very best form and flavor one can get from oatmeal is in the form of a cookie; fresh from the oven or crisp, ready for a dip in coffee or tea.

    Comment by Pat — February 22, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

  23. CONGRATS! I know you are going to win the BEST FOOD BLOG award.

    Comment by Nandini — February 22, 2007 @ 2:50 pm

  24. Dear Indira,

    This is my first comment on your website.
    And the reason I write now is not really for any of the recipes, but ..for this simple yet powerful sentence you wrote today –
    “..comfort is in the ritual of routine, said our elders. I am used to things changing frequently around me and my way of dealing with change is to practise a comforting routine in militant fashion..”

    I am a physician-scientist/mom of a 1 yr old juggling life in the US. Your thought amazes me in its simplicity. We all juggle but few of us manage to do this with the kind of efficiency and happiness that people like you bring to day-to-day life. You are also right in that we would be happier following the structures already laid out for us by our elders (moms and grandmoms).

    Your blog has inspired me at many levels beyond the food aspects. You must be a great person. There is some special mystery to not knowing who you are and yet be able to share some of the niceties of life with you.

    You writing is absolutely beautiful.

    (hope this comment isnt too long. I do not mind emailing you sometime).

    Comment by anu — February 22, 2007 @ 3:12 pm

  25. As one reader suggested try adding some salt to your oatmeal (a pinch or so depending on how much you’re making).

    This really cuts down on the blandness and brings out the yummy oat-ey flavor that I love.

    For me, no salt in my oatmeal means I won’t eat it. πŸ˜‰

    Comment by Deirdre — February 22, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

  26. I stri fry my oatmeal for 2-3 minutes in 1/2 spoon oil and also mix half milk/half water.Flavor it with cardamom ansd sugar.
    I also make sweet cracked wheat in this manner

    Comment by ritu — February 22, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

  27. Hi Indira,

    Your blog make me cook everyday! I cook old fashioned oats quite often for breakfast. What I have learnt is that if you soak it for about 10-15 minutes in water, it cooks faster (5 min).

    Comment by Hash — February 22, 2007 @ 4:29 pm

  28. Here’s an idea – why dont you throw in your hat for Iron Chef America? You could challenge one of those chefs?? And, you bet, I am serious!!

    Comment by Raghu — February 22, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

  29. Hi Indira
    I too love oats, rolled oats are very simple add milk, microwave for a 1min lastly add honey, it just tastes yum…. I am just laughing the way u have wriiten “trying to jazz up oatmeal is like putting makeup on a pig”.
    Nice and simple post,very well written.

    Comment by Rajani — February 22, 2007 @ 7:30 pm

  30. Hello,

    Can you please setup RSS or Atom feed in your page. It helps to keep track of blogs for folks such as me who depend on RSS feeds.


    Comment by guest — February 22, 2007 @ 8:17 pm

  31. Congrats on the well-deserved win at indi-bloggies Indira!

    Comment by nandita — February 22, 2007 @ 11:15 pm

  32. Congratulations Indira! Kudos on your winning at Indi-Bloggies.

    Also this is regarding your previous comment at My Dhaba – I found it very very difficult to choose some of your recipes myself from your great array of traditional recipes. Would you please kindly let me know which ones would be your personal favorites to be included in the Feed a Hungry Child group cookbook ‘You Can Cook’. I will look forward to your reply. The deadline for the submission has been extended to Feb 28. Cheers! – vkn –

    Comment by VK Narayanan — February 23, 2007 @ 12:12 am

  33. Congrats Indira. You absolutely deserved the award! πŸ™‚

    Comment by B o o. — February 23, 2007 @ 1:19 am

  34. Congratulations !! on being first in the Best Food Indiblog 2006.

    Comment by MenuToday — February 23, 2007 @ 1:36 am

  35. Hey Indira,nice writeup.I liked the part where you say dressing up oatmeal is like putting makeup on a pig.Gave me a good laugh but couldn’t agree with you more.We tried oatmeal a few times,but it was too much fibre for my poor hubby who kept having stomach discomfort and we had to stop it.I am the only one who eats oatmeal in my house,so I have stopped buying because cooking three different things for 3 people doesn’t make sense at all,time being the biggest constraint.I used to have it when I was pregnant though and like it with honey and cinnamon..

    Comment by Vini K — February 23, 2007 @ 2:10 am

  36. Congratulations on a truly well deserved award, Indira.

    Comment by sailaja — February 23, 2007 @ 4:16 am

  37. Comfort is in the ritual of routine… what a wonderful line is that!

    Comment by sumitha — February 23, 2007 @ 4:38 am

  38. Hi Indira –

    What a simple post you’ve put, comparable in comfort just like a bowl of oatmeal – and good for the heart, of course!:-)

    Did I tell you my morning routine has to involve coffee first and then oatmeal for breakfast a few times in the week like you guys, and then chai for my second doze? Well, here’s the best part – not to miss this, when I am waiting for my dicoction (sp?) to drip in the filter, of course, I have to sit before my laptop for a hot cup of Mahanandi! My NYT comes later -Mahanandi compensates for that – right now leaving a comment as I am sipping my coffee…:-)

    Comment by desimom — February 23, 2007 @ 4:50 am

  39. Congratulations Indira. You did deserve it.

    Comment by sandeepa — February 23, 2007 @ 4:58 am

  40. Congratulations!! You totally deserve the award for all the effort and dedication that you put in!

    A Big Hug, Trupti

    Comment by Trupti — February 23, 2007 @ 5:21 am

  41. Congratulations Indira upon winning the best food blog. You completely deserve it.

    Comment by Soniya Gadgil-Sharma — February 23, 2007 @ 5:23 am

  42. Congratulations Indira for the well deserved award. Keep up the good work!


    Comment by Altoid — February 23, 2007 @ 5:29 am

  43. Congrats Indira, a well deserved award!


    Comment by Madhavi — February 23, 2007 @ 5:48 am

  44. Hi Indira,

    Congratulations ! on winning the Indi Blog award. this is really a well deserved award. Your blog is a pleasure to visit – the photographs, presentation and recipes make this a delightful blog πŸ™‚


    Comment by Sangeeta — February 23, 2007 @ 7:33 am

  45. Congrats on winning the indiblog award. I don’t think there was any doubt about it. u have a great blog.

    Comment by shaheen — February 23, 2007 @ 7:38 am

  46. dear indira,
    your blog has touched many lives and gives us, away from india, an opportunity to get back in touch with our roots. wish you many many more years of success.

    – jai and bee

    Comment by bee — February 23, 2007 @ 8:59 am

  47. Congrats Indira, its a great achievement and its always good when people recognize you for your hard work. Keep up the good work and enjoy your success. I am so happy for you…

    Comment by Nidhi — February 23, 2007 @ 8:59 am

  48. Congratulations Indira, On winning the Indi Blog award. You truly deserve it. I have been silently reading your posts for a long time now. You have insipired me to start one. Please do stop by when you get a chance.
    Wish you the best and many more awards.

    Comment by Food4BMS — February 23, 2007 @ 9:21 am

  49. What is this? Has everybody lost their minds? 48+ comments for a simple oatmeal post? πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Comment by InjiPennu — February 23, 2007 @ 10:22 am

  50. It’s just great to read all your oatmeal trials and triumphs. Thanks for sharing and I will definitely try some of your ideas.

    Also thanks for the wishes and for your nice words. I greatly appreciate them!

    Comment by Indira — February 23, 2007 @ 10:26 am

  51. Indira – Oats has become our staple breakfast too. I liked it plain till Aswin introduced me to eating it with Walnuts and dates. I’m hooked now.
    Congratulations on the award. You truly deserve it.

    Comment by mandira — February 23, 2007 @ 10:40 am


    Comment by Priya — February 23, 2007 @ 10:52 am

  53. Indira,
    Congrats on your triumph.

    Oats is one of our staple breakfasts too. The kids love it with a handful of raisins.

    Comment by sunita — February 23, 2007 @ 10:52 am

  54. Congratulation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! U deserve it. I was hoping that you win!! Kudos to you! My husband often visits your website and commented on the oatmeal. Well I bought oats a month ago and have to open the box yet! He was like ” Now Indira has written about oatmeal and so you better eat them! Well, I didnt realise that your blog had so much positive influence on our lives!

    Comment by Deepika — February 23, 2007 @ 10:54 am

  55. Hearty Congratulations to you Indira!!! You deserve this for the amount of effort and hard work you put in everyday by “Cooking with Consciousness” , you had to get this award.You know, every time i shop for grocery i keep 2-3 recipes of yours in mind and buy the ingredients. Your method of cooking is so divine! Keep up the excellent work!

    Comment by Deepu — February 23, 2007 @ 11:59 am

  56. Can you tell me the blog admin email address here, my comment is always considered asSpam

    Comment by Sandhya — February 23, 2007 @ 12:04 pm

  57. Congrats Indira. I know you would come up with colors. This is my first comment after my brief blog hiatus and i am glad it came out for your well deserved win. Congrats again Indira πŸ™‚

    Comment by Karthi Kannan — February 23, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

  58. Congrats Indira!! You deserve the BEST … and much more!!

    Comment by Aparna — February 24, 2007 @ 4:37 am

  59. I am glad that my friend Madhoo referred me to your website. I like your website. You have created some very good healthy recipes.I live in Seattle too, Redmond area, I love to shop in Pike Place Market.
    You are doing a great job. Congratulations.

    Comment by Sandhya — February 25, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

  60. congrates, Indira for winning the award for best food deserve it.the recipes you post are good of which i tried many recipes in my day to day cooking….

    Comment by ambica — February 26, 2007 @ 11:01 am

  61. Hmmm, oatmeal; I am happy to see that oatmeal is universal with all different tastes. I love to try variations in my oatmeal, I like sugar, brown sugar, honey, cranberries, apples, really any kind of fruit…. but I do not like any kind of nuts in my oatmeal. May oatmeal live forever.

    Comment by Jonesy — February 26, 2007 @ 12:53 pm

  62. I find it interesting to see how everyone has different expectations of their oatmeal.

    My grandmother always fed it to us with a pat of butter, a dollop of strawberry jam and plenty of milk. My mother always made it with raisins, brown sugar and milk. My husband likes it with dried fruit, molasses, milk and a bit of sugar. I have a friend who eats it with ham and salt and pepper. It is a very versatile dish (I used it last night in both fresh bread and meatloaf).

    But I never cook it so long, because I don’t like the gooey texture it takes on. I put my oats in a bowl, cover with water, and cook in the microwave for 1 minute, stir, add a bit more water if needed, and cook another minute. That way it’s cooked just enough for me, but it’s not gooey, it still has a bit of texture.

    Comment by Cris — February 26, 2007 @ 6:25 pm

  63. Hi Indira,
    I am such a regular reader of your blog… i use your recipes every single day. But this is the first time I am writing a comment for you.. only becuase your morning regimen is exactly like mine..just that i like to add Dates and Walnut to my oatmeal for added nutrition.

    Thank you for publishing such wonderful recipes and inspiring me to cook.

    Comment by Pooja — February 26, 2007 @ 6:54 pm

  64. I couldnΓƒΖ’Γ†β€™ΓƒΒ’Γ’β€šΒ¬Γ…Β‘ΓƒΖ’Γ’β‚¬Ε‘Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β΄t agree more. I love it for breakfast, itΓƒΖ’Γ†β€™ΓƒΒ’Γ’β€šΒ¬Γ…Β‘ΓƒΖ’Γ’β‚¬Ε‘Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β΄s so calming, and yet quite energizing.
    Loving your blog, btw.

    Comment by lobstersquad — February 28, 2007 @ 4:32 am

  65. I just happened on to your oat post by accident and am happy I did! I have a solution to your and any one else’s problem with texture in oatmeal. I learned this trick a long time ago.

    Using THICK rolled oats. measure your water and add salt. Bring to a boil and add the oats, let the temperature recover to nearly a boil, stir minimally, cut off heat , cover with a tight fitting lid. Do this in the evening and reheat in the microwave the next morning. The grains are separate, slightly chewy, and practically none of the oat starch has turned it into a glutinous slurry. My usual recipe is to add a tablespoon or two of whole flax seeds to say three cups of water along with 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add a heaping third cup of rolled wheat and the same of rolled rye and a heaping half cup of thick oats. Let heat recover, stir , cover,shut off heat, then cover with a tea towel or two to insulate. If you use too little water is gives you a tighter mass to break up and reheat. I usually thin it out slightly with milk before reheating. Rye and wheat flakes are a little thicker than oats and have a nice texture and flavor. The flax is a healthy addition but I like it more for the texture and looks.(the flax,rye, and wheat can be bought at a health food store, food coop, certain {upscale} markets and are not very expense – or shouldn’t be) This was a minor minor revolution for me band one that I have loved for a long time. Let me know if it works for you. Thank you so much. Kenny

    Comment by kenny walton — March 5, 2007 @ 1:26 pm

  66. Indira:
    I hated oatmeal too until I started adding salt, and a tempering of green chillies, cumin, cilantro and a little chaat masala. Its a favorite now!

    Comment by arundathi — March 6, 2007 @ 6:07 pm

  67. I like quick cooking oats with crushed chocolate cookies mixed after cooking. Some say it beats the purpose of healthy eating but it tastes awesome!

    Somedays I even decorate it with some chocolate sauce on top – ladies n gentlemen – thats your make up for the pig! Its suddenly chocolate-chip-oats! Lip-smackin’good!

    Comment by sam — May 7, 2007 @ 7:02 am

  68. Indira and all the other commentators:
    Great food. I cook steel cut oats per instructions on the can. Put into a square, buttered plastic bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Store in fridge. Eash morning I cut a slice, micro for 1.5 minutes on plate or bowl, and eat in all kinds of ways. Butter, salt and pepper is good. Jam on top is good. Fig chutney is good. And many of the other suggestions posted sound delicious.

    Comment by Bill Alford — November 12, 2007 @ 4:47 pm

  69. Try making dosa from oats. Soak oats in enough curd(buttermilk) for 30 minutes, grind it into batter, add onions, green chilli,salt and cumin. Make dosa(little thick not paper kind of dosa). They taste real good and I am sure your opinion for oats will change completely.

    Comment by Sirisha — November 20, 2008 @ 4:27 pm

  70. How to make steel cut oats dosa?

    Comment by Chitra — May 10, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

  71. I put any kind of curried subji on it and use it like rice. Love it. I am a salt and spice lover, not crazy about sugar.

    Comment by SHARDA — June 16, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

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