When my alarm goes off on these chilly winter mornings, I crave nothing more than staying curled up in my warm bed. But my work and life beckon, and I must reluctantly slide out from under my comforter. Me being me, I know I have to appeal to my stomach to make these crisp mornings more palatable.
Enter: a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
But, wait. This is not your regular bowl of oatmeal. After taste-testing a variety of toppings and mixing & matching my favorites, I’ve come up with the perfect bowl that’s worth leaving my toasty bed for. My secret ingredient? Coconut oil.
I grew up using coconut oil as a conditioning treatment for my hair. But when I visited Kerala, in south India, I was introduced to it as an ingredient to cook with. Coconuts grow in abundance there and coconut kernel, milk, cream and oil are widely used in almost all dishes. And anyone who has eaten Kerala cuisine knows the food is incredibly flavorful.
Coconut oil seemed like a natural addition to oatmeal since it adds a buttery richness. I use it predominantly for its taste but it also has a list of health benefits. From what I’ve read, it may lower cholesterol, aid in heart disease prevention and boost metabolism. Additionally, the Lauric acid in coconut oil is considered to be a potential anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent. So it’s tasty AND healthy!
I always use steel cut oats instead of rolled oats for this recipe since they’re less gummy and have a crunchy texture. Again, I choose these for their taste and texture but some research shows that they are healthier than rolled oats. Steel cut oats are made from oat kernels that have been chopped into thick pieces. They digest slower than the flatter rolled oats, therefore causing less spikes in blood sugar levels. They do however take longer to cook and that’s why I use my trusty rice cooker.
I also really like that each bowl can be customized to one’s tastes or moods; a blank canvas of sorts. On a recent visit to Dubai, I introduced my father to oatmeal with coconut oil and he’s been equally obsessed. He called last week to give me a detailed list of his carefully chosen toppings – coconut oil, cinnamon, honey, jaggery (unrefined cane sugar), Stevia, pumpkin seeds and the Chia seeds he steals from my mother’s coveted stash. He likes his sweet, with an attempt to being healthy.
These days, Tarah, my husband, likes his with fruit. In addition to the coconut oil, he stirs in cinnamon, maple syrup, raisins, sliced bananas and a drizzle of tart sour cherry jam that we bought in Istanbul.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always liked mine crunchy and nutty. I often top my bowl with buttery coconut oil, warm spicy cinnamon, roasted crushed almonds, almond milk and my favorite sweet Vermont honey. Here’s the recipe for my perfect bowl of oatmeal. Let me know how you like yours.
A printable list of ingredients and directions are at the end of this post,
along with an image of this Perfect Morsel.
I particularly like steel cut oats from the brand Bob’s Red Mill since they’re incredibly tasty and the brand offer choices of organic and gluten-free oatmeal. They’re also an employee owned company with good ethics.
Follow the cooking instructions on the back of the packet of oatmeal to cook it on a stove top. I personally like to cook mine in a rice cooker like the one above using the “porridge” setting.
Add 1 cup of steel cut oatmeal to the rice-cooker. Add water to the “1″ mark under Porridge, choose the “porridge” setting on the front of the rice-cooker and turn the cooker on. It will take about 40 minutes to cook. If you like your oatmeal crunchier and less soupy, add less water.
When the oatmeal is cooked, ladle the desired amount in a bowl. I usually add a little more than a cup of cooked oatmeal to my bowl. Add the crushed roasted almonds, cinnamon powder and almond milk.
Drizzle the honey. I love the way the honey drips off the spoon in this step.
Stir in a 1/4 teaspoon of organic extra virgin coconut oil. I especially like the brand Nutiva for its taste and for the fact that Nutiva uses fresh certified organic coconuts and the oil is cold-pressed, retaining all the benefits of the oil.
Here’s a perfect morsel that I look forward to every morning, especially when it’s dark and chilly outside. Feel free to change the recipe to your desired tastes and mood.
NOTE: I have not been compensated in anyway by the brands mentioned in this article. My endorsements come straight from my palate.
A Perfect Bowl Of Oatmeal
- 1 cup steel cut oatmeal
- 1 ½ cups water, approximately
Toppings per bowl
- 2 tbsp crushed roasted almonds
- cinnamon powder, to desired taste
- 1 tbsp almond milk
- ½ tsp honey
- ¼ tsp extra virgin coconut oil
- Follow the cooking instructions on the back of the packet of oatmeal to cook it on a stove top. I personally like to cook mine in a rice-cooker like the one above using the “porridge” setting.
- Add 1 cup of steel cut oatmeal to the rice-cooker. Add water to the “1″ mark under Porridge, choose the “porridge” setting on the front of the rice-cooker and turn the cooker on. It will take about 40 minutes to cook. If you like your oatmeal crunchier and less soupy, add less water.
- When the oatmeal is cooked, ladle the desired amount in a bowl. I usually add a little more than a cup of cooked oatmeal to my bowl. Add the crushed roasted almonds, cinnamon powder and almond milk.
- Drizzle the honey.
- Add the organic extra virgin coconut oil and stir.
- Feel free to change the recipe to your desired tastes and mood.
Preparation time: 2 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Number of servings: 4