Poll: Savory porridge, yea or nay?

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We often think of sweet porridge for breakfast, but grain-based bowls can easily turn savory with the addition of eggs or sauteed vegetables. This egg curry breakfast bowl is from “The Whole Grain Promise” by Robin Asbell. Photo by Steve Legato.

Have you ever had salty oatmeal?

I didn’t realize until a few months ago that lots of people put salt and pepper on their oatmeal. I grew up eating it with brown sugar, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started seeing savory porridges on the menus of fancy restaurants.

In today’s food section, I explain why this savory porridge idea isn’t quite as crazy as it might sound, including several recipes for risotto-inspired porridges and breakfast grain bowls.

As I’ve talked to people about this, it seems like just the idea of savory porridge is pretty divisive, so I thought I’d take a very scientific blog poll to get a sense of where you’re at with the concept. Below that, you’ll find my favorite recipe from the story, which is less porridge and more grain bowl, but similar nonetheless.

We often think of sweet porridge for breakfast, but grain-based bowls can easily turn savory with the addition of eggs or sauteed vegetables. This egg curry breakfast bowl is from “The Whole Grain Promise” by Robin Asbell. Photo by Steve Legato.

We often think of sweet porridge for breakfast, but grain-based bowls can easily turn savory with the addition of eggs or sauteed vegetables. This egg curry breakfast bowl is from “The Whole Grain Promise” by Robin Asbell. Photo by Steve Legato.

Egg Curry Breakfast Bowl

This Indian-inspired bowl uses two teaspoons of curry powder and coconut milk, and although the title suggests that you’d eat it for breakfast, this would be a fine meal any time of day. Double the recipe if you’re planning on serving it as a dinner for four.

1/2 cup coconut milk
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice or other grain
4 large eggs, or 8 ounces soft tofu, cubed
2 scallions, sliced lengthwise (white and green parts)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees with the bottom rack positioned at the lowest level.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the coconut milk and add the carrot, onion, and ginger. Stir over medium heat until the carrot is softened and the coconut milk is thick.

Stir in the curry powder, brown sugar, salt and tomatoes and mix well. Bring to a boil and stir in the rice.

Divide the rice among 4 ovenproof ramekins or bowls and make a depression in the center of each. Crack an egg into each depression (or add tofu). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, to your desired level of doneness. (You may want a firmer yolk or a runny one; a runny yolk will act as a sauce.) Top with scallions and serve immediately. Serves 2 to 4.

— From “The Whole Grain Promise” by Robin Asbell (Running Press, $20)


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