It’s easy to innovate when you’re working with a set formula. Oatmeal has a set formula. Bring 1 and 3/4 cups water (or milk) to a boil, add a pinch of salt, add your rolled oats, lower to a simmer, stir and cook until your oatmeal’s absorbed most of the liquid. Then sweeten with a little brown sugar, syrup or honey and you’ve got oatmeal.
The other day, though, I saw three ingredients sitting on my counter:
Those three ingredients, as you can see by the picture, were: lime, ginger and coconut milk. And I thought to myself: “What if I put those in my oatmeal?”
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what that would taste like. I had my doubts. But it was a Sunday morning and what did I have to lose?
So I melted 1 tablespoon of butter in a pot and added about 1 tablespoon of finely chopped ginger:
I sauteed it just until soft and fragrant (but without browning it), then added 1 and 3/4 cups of coconut milk (which, it turns out, is the precise amount you’ll find in one can of coconut milk.) I also added the zest of one lime, a pinch of salt and a shake or two of ground cardamom. When it came to a boil, I added 1 cup of rolled oats and stirred.
A few minutes later, most of the liquid was absorbed and things looked a little too thick, so I added a splash of water and let that smooth things out. Then I added a spoonful or two of light brown sugar (stirring it in, each time, and tasting) and served it up with a lime wedge:
And you know what? This was fantastic! The flavors worked really well together; you had the heat from the ginger, the tropical notes of coconut and lime, and the cozy nuttiness of good old fashioned oats. The wary person that I served this to (that would be Craig) was convinced after one bite: this was good.
The lesson is: when there’s a set formula, it’s easy to innovate (that was my first sentence). So innovate with oatmeal.
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