Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day even though I’m usually not fully awake (before coffee) to make something fancy and grand. My breakfasts are usually some form of eggs and toast or oatmeal and fruit. I came up with this iron-rich oatmeal to get a boost of nutrition first thing in the morning!
My fiancé recently went to Dubai and brought me back a huge box of medjool dates. I had so many that I wondered what to do with them. I decided to make a date “caramel” of sorts and add it to my oatmeal for extra iron and natural sweetness first thing in the morning. I made a large batch and put it in the freezer – dates actually don’t freeze up, so it works well. You can just take a scoop of it and add it to your oatmeal immediately. Of course, if you only have a few medjool dates on hand, you can adjust the recipe and add the flavoring to your liking. In terms of oatmeal, Bagrry’s oats are probably the best ones I’ve found here that are widely available in India in brick-and-mortar and online grocery stores, inexpensive and taste good.
Also, I’m happy to say that after considerable research and testing, I think I’ve finally come up with a method that makes a creamy, rich, wholesome oatmeal that tastes just the way it does at a nice restaurant but without all the unhealthy additions! Hope you enjoy this recipe and my tips.
- ½ cup whole oats
- ⅓ cup milk of choice (I use 2% milk)
- ⅔ cup water
- A pinch of powdered cinnamon
- 1 small banana, sliced thinly (optional)
- A handful of chopped walnuts (optional)
- For the date "caramel": (makes 5-6 servings)
- 20 medjool dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for 10 minutes to soften
- Sea salt, to taste
- ½ tsp of vanilla powder or essence
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, toast the oats and cinnamon on medium-low heat for a minute until fragrant. Be careful to not allow the mixture to burn.
- Add the milk and water to the mixture, and stir gently just once to ensure that all the oats are coated. Allow the mixture to cook on medium-low heat without stirring. This ensures that the oat flakes don't break up to form a porridge-like texture.
- Whole oats usually take about 6-8 minutes to cook completely and for the liquid to evaporate, but be sure to check your oats every couple of minutes to ensure they don't overcook and stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Blend the soaked dates, vanilla and sea salt until they form a thick paste. If the dates aren't breaking down easily, add a tablespoon of hot water to the mix. It doesn't form a creamy caramel sauce; it will be more of a paste. This paste freezes well and keeps for several weeks.
- When the oatmeal is cooked, I mix in about one and a half tablespoons of the date caramel. Alternatively, you can top the cooked oatmeal with the date caramel, sliced bananas and chopped nuts (for crunch!:).