Steel Cut Oats with … Tamari and Green Onion?!

by Ginny on February 23, 2011

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Okay, so this is going to like totally freak you out. But I think you can handle it. Are you ready?

It’s savory oatmeal. Steel cut oats, thinly sliced green onion, and a drizzle of tamari. FOR BREAKFAST…..!?#&%#@!

Now, before your head explodes, stop, take a deep breath, and try to open your mind to a new outfit for your beloved oatmeal. I couldn’t believe it either, but after reading this post on Mark Bittman’s Savory Oatmeal , I knew I had to step outside the maple and brown sugar box and give it a try.

Chicken Jook, aka Congee

If you’ve ever eaten the Chinese Rice Porridge called Jook or Congee, then you can pretty much imagine what this tastes like. Jook is something I turn to as an alternative to chicken noodle soup. A small amount of rice is cooked down in chicken broth infused with ginger, garlic, and green onion, until the rice reaches a porridge-like consistency. Simple, healing, and easy on those who are queasy, Jook is often eaten for breakfast.

Much as I love my recipe for Jook, I never had the cajones to eat it for breakfast. Finally, I know what I’ve been missing out on. This savory oatmeal is a really nice departure from sugary, fatty, or bland breakfast foods.

For my version (yes, it’s become a staple now), I use steel cut oats for their toothsome texture. Just prepare them according to package instructions, and add a splash of tamari or soy sauce and a bit of thinly sliced green onion. That’s all the recipe you need. Think of it as a wet brown rice with green onion and soy. If you like it, experiment with adding a few drops of toasted sesame oil, a poached or fried egg, a grating of fresh ginger root, or even a spicy dot of Sriracha. Steel cut oats keep well for a few days with no compromise to their texture, so feel free to make a couple days worth. When reheating leftover oats, add a bit of water if they look dry.

Hubs has long turned to plain rice and soy sauce as a favorite simple comfort food, so even though he loves his oatmeal bowl heaped with brown sugar and half and half, he wasn’t too tough a sell on the savory oatmeal. Personally, as someone who is rarely turned on by breakfast sweets, I am now able to approach the oatmeal pot with a sense of anticipation rather than duty. When it comes to a meal as repetitious as breakfast can be, I think falling in love with this new healthy option may have added years to my life.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat February 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Gonna give this a try. (I’m not big on “sweet” breakfasts anyway — EXCEPT for steel cut oats with a handful of raisins and a generous drizzle of Canadian Maple syrup…)
As for “comfort foods”, I, too, love a bowl or brown rice and tamari. Will definitely try “Jook” (substituting a tamari broth for vegetarian Robert).
I love reading your blog, Ginny!


Ginny February 24, 2011 at 11:20 am

Let me know what you think Pat : )


Pat February 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm

…bowl OF brown rice (should have proofread this more carefully!)


Jennae @ Green & Gorgeous February 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I am actually pretty tempted to try this. I should’ve prefaced that proclamation with the fact that I really can’t stand oatmeal. I have a big issue with the texture of foods, and the texture of oatmeal is generally more than I can handle. But this looks like something I could really sink my teeth into, and it looks to be more savory than traditional oatmeal. If it feels anything like brown rice, I just might have to try it 🙂


Ginny February 25, 2011 at 10:05 am

Jennae, if you don’t like the texture of regular oatmeal (which can be pretty blah for sure), I highly reccommend giving steel cut oats a try. They take longer to cook (about 20 minutes) but have a lot more bite to them. What makes them different is that the oats are coarsely chopped in whole form (i.e. steel-cut) instead of being rolled flat.


Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks February 24, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Can’t wait to try this. I can occassionally eat a sweet breakfast but savory is my favorite. I’ll try it and get back with you.


Ginny February 25, 2011 at 9:59 am

Please do. I’d love to know what you think Andrea : )


katie March 3, 2011 at 6:10 pm

yeah nice


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