Savory tomato porridge with dried mint and basil
I don’t where I went wrong with my life, but somewhere along the line I lost my sweet tooth. If I see a sweet porridge, I run the other way. When I wake up in the morning, I dream of eating pickles and olives and drinking salty stock cubes diluted in water. I still don’t understand why a lot of people think of savory porridge as a martian invention, and even if it was, it is a delicious and comforting one.
In the Arab states of the Persian Gulf in specific, it is not uncommon to boil, beat and mash rice, groats, coarsely-ground wheat and other grains until they have the consistency of porridge. They are often served with meat, caramelized onions and sometimes with some kind of salsa or salad. I have seen people make versions of harees, jareesh and mathrouba with oats since they’re easier and faster to prepare.
The oat porridge below used to be a soup that I’d make when I had a cold, but over time it became a breakfast staple. If you’d like to turn it to a soup, sauté some onions beforehand and add more water. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have all the ingredients, it’s a very forgiving recipe and you can experiment with different flavors.
-1.5 cup water
-10 tbsp whole oats
-1 vegetable stock cube (optional, can substitute with salt to taste)
-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
-2 tsp olive oil (optional, perhaps add some ground flaxseed instead?)
-2.5 tsp tomato paste
-1 tsp dried basil
-1.5 tsp dried mint
-0.5 tsp mixed spice (can use 7 spice, garam masala, baharat, or any generic spice mix you have lying around)
-0.25 tsp black pepper
-1 cube frozen spinach (or a handful of fresh chopped spinach)
-Juice of half a lemon
In a sauce pan, cook the water until it comes to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients except for the lemon juice until the oats cook and start to have a thicker consistency.
Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Garnish with extra dried mint, and serve with fresh tomatoes, leafy greens or vegan sausages.