Porridge with milk
|Main ingredient(s)||Oats or other cereal meals, water or milk|
Porridge (also spelled porage, parritch, etc.), is a dish made by boiling ground, crushed, or chopped cereal in water, milk, or both, with optional flavourings, usually served hot in a bowl or dish. It may be sweetened with sugar, or served as a savoury dish. The term is usually used for oat porridge (porridge oats); there are similar dishes made with other grains or legumes, but they often have other unique names, such as polenta or grits.
A dish made of oats alone, either in crushed or meal form, or whole-grain, is known simply as oatmeal in the U.S.
Oat and semolina porridge are the most popular varieties in many countries. In addition to oats, cereal meals used for porridge include rice, wheat, barley, and corn. Legumes such as peasemeal can also be used to make porridge. Gruel is similar to porridge but is made without milk and has a very thin consistency.
Porridge was a traditional food in much of Northern Europe and Russia. Barley was a common grain used, though other grains and yellow peas could be used, depending on local conditions. It was primarily a savory dish, with a variety of meats, root crops, vegetables, and herbs added for flavor. Porridge could be cooked in a large metal kettle over hot coals, or heated in a cheaper earthenware container by adding hot stones until boiling hot. Until leavened bread and baking ovens became commonplace in Europe, porridge was a typical means of preparing cereal crops for the table. It was also commonly used as prison food for inmates in the UK prison system and so "doing porridge" became a slang term for a sentence in prison.
In many modern cultures, porridge is widely eaten as a breakfast dish, often with the addition of salt, butter, sugar, milk or cream, depending on regional preferences. In the English-speaking Caribbean islands it is common to add cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and almond essence to the oats, water and milk. Some manufacturers of breakfast cereal, such as Scott's Porage Oats and, in Ireland, Flahavan's Progress Oatlets, sell 'ready-made' forms and/or products based on pre-cooked oatmeal. Porridge is one of the easiest ways to digest grains or legumes, and is used traditionally in many cultures as a food to nurse the sick back to health. It is also commonly eaten by athletes in training.
Recipes and ratios
For oatmeal porridge, milk, water, or a mixture can be used as cooking liquid. Scottish traditionalists allow only oats, water and salt. Full-fat milk makes a rich porridge. A ratio of one part of milk to two of water has been recommended as a happy medium. One part of oats can be cooked in two to four parts of liquid. Two parts has been criticised as giving too gluey a result, and four parts as too loose; a ratio of 1:3 has been recommended. One source suggests using equal parts of pinhead (steel-cut) oatmeal and medium ground oatmeal. There are various techniques suggested by different cooks, such as pre-soaking, but a comparative test found very little difference in the end result (one suggestion is to stir only clockwise, as "anti-clockwise stirring will encourage the devil into your breakfast"). Toasting the oats beforehand for a couple of minutes gives the finished dish a good, distinctly nutty, roasted flavour. Letting the porridge sit, lidded, for 5 to 15 minutes may develop a little more flavour. A little salt added towards the end of cooking is essential, whether or not the porridge is sweetened. Various flavourings are used: demerara sugar, golden syrup, Greek yoghurt and honey, even langoustine tails and scallops. A girdle of very cold milk or single cream is reported to be essential, traditionally served in a separate bowl to keep it cold. Cooking time can be adjusted to taste, but simmering for ten minutes is typical for non-instant (and tastier) oatmeal.
- Oat porridge, traditional and common in English-speaking countries, Nordic countries, and Germany. Oat porridge has been found in the stomachs of 5,000 year old Neolithic bog bodies in Central Europe and Scandinavia. Varieties of modern oat porridge include:
- Groats, a porridge made from unprocessed oats or wheat.
- Kasha, a widely consumed groats/porridge range of dishes, utilising a variety of grains, widespread in Eastern Europe and Russia.
- Owsianka, an east European (Russia, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine) traditional breakfast made with hot milk, oats, and sometimes with sugar and butter.
- Porridge made from rolled oats or ground oatmeal is common in Scotland, England, Australia, New Zealand, North America and Scandinavia. It is known as simply "porridge" or, more commonly in the United States and sometimes in Canada, "oatmeal". Rolled oats are commonly used in England, oatmeal in Scotland, and steel-cut oats in Ireland.
- Terci de ovăz, traditional oatmeal in Romania.
- Maize porridge:
- Atole, a Mexican dish of corn flour in water or milk.
- Champurrado, or "atole de chocolate", a Mexican blend of sugar, milk, chocolate, and corn dough or corn flour. A similar Philippine dish, "champorado", often substitutes rice for the maize.
- Cir, Păsat, or (when firmer) Mămăligă are all Romanian maize porridges.
- Cornmeal mush, a traditional dish in southern and mid-Atlantic US states.
- Dalia or Daliya, an Indian and Pakistani maize porridge.
- Gofio, a Canary Island porridge of toasted coarse-ground maize.
- Grits, ground hominy or ground posole, is common in the southern United States, traditionally served with butter, salt and black pepper.
- Kachamak, a maize porridge from the Balkans.
- Mazamorra, a maize porridge from Colombia.
- Polenta, an Italian maize porridge.
- Rubaboo is made from dried maize and peas with animal fat, and was a staple food of the Voyageurs.
- Shuco, a Salvadoran dish of black, blue, or purple corn flour, ground pumpkin seeds, chili sauce, some red cooked kidney beans, which was traditionally drunk out of a hollowed-out gourd at early morning, especially coming from a hunting or drinking trip.
- Uji, a thick East African porridge made most commonly from corn flour mixed with sorghum and many other different ground cereals, with milk or butter and sugar or salt. Ugali, a more solid meal, is also made from maize flour, likewise often mixed with other cereals. These two, under various names, are staple foods over a wide part of the African continent, e.g., pap in South Africa, sadza in Zimbabwe, nshima in Zambia, tuwo or ogi in Nigeria, etc., though some of these may also be made from sorghum.
- Žganci, a maize porridge prepared in the Kajkavian countries and Slovenia.
- Pease porridge or peasemeal porridge, made from dried peas, is a traditional English and Scottish porridge.
- Potato porridge, eaten in Norway, is a thick, almost solid paste made from cooked potatoes mixed with milk and barley.
- Tsampa is a toasted grain flour, usually barley, eaten in Tibet, often mixed with tea and butter.
- Wheat porridge:
- Cream of Wheat or farina.
- Dalia, a simple porridge made out of cracked wheat, is a common breakfast in northern India and Pakistan. It is cooked in milk or water and eaten with salt or sugar added.
- Frumenty, a boiled wheat porridge eaten in Roman times, sometimes with fruit or meat added.
- Gris cu lapte (Romania), dessert made with semolina boiled in milk with sugar added, sometimes flavored with jam, raisins, dried fruit, cinnamon powder, etc.
- Mannapuuro, a traditional Finnish dessert made with semolina.
- Sour cream porridge, a Norwegian porridge of wheat flour in cooked sour cream with a very smooth and slightly runny texture. It is served with sugar, cinnamon, cured meats, or even hard-boiled eggs depending on local custom.
- Upma, a fried semolina porridge traditional in southern India, flavored with clarified butter, fried onions, toasted mustard seeds, and curry leaves, and often mixed with vegetables and other foods, such as potatoes, fried dried red chilis, fried cauliflower, and toasted peanuts or cashew nuts.
- Velvet porridge or butter porridge, a Norwegian dish: a generous amount of white roux is made from wheat flour and butter, adding milk until it can be served as a thick porridge.
- Wheatena, a brand name for a whole-wheat porridge.
- Ýarma, a Turkmen wheat groat porridge.
- Rice porridge:
- Congee, a common East Asian, Southeast Asian, and South Asian dish of boiled-down rice:
- In Sri Lanka congee is prepared with many ingredients. As a porridge, Sinhala people mainly use coconut milk with rice flour, it is known as "Kiriya."
- Chinese congee, called zhou in Mandarin, and juk in Cantonese, can be served with a century egg, salted duck egg, pork, cilantro, fried wonton noodles, or you tiao, deep-fried dough strips.
- Indonesian and Malaysian congee, called bubur, comes in many regional varieties, such as bubur sumsum, made from rice flour boiled with coconut milk then served with palm sugar sauce; and also bubur manado or tinutuan, a rice porridge mixed with various vegetables and eaten with fried salted fish and chili sauce.
- Japanese congee, called kayu, is mixed with salt and green onions. Often accompanied with variety of foods such as tsukemono(preserved vegetables), shiokara(preserved seafoods), and so on.
- Korean congee, called juk, can have added seafood, pine nuts, mushrooms, etc.
- Thai congee, called "khao tom" (ข้าวต้ม), can have added coriander, preserved duck eggs, fish sauce, sliced chili peppers, pickled mustard greens or salt cabbage preserves, red pepper flakes, etc.
- Vietnamese congee, called cháo, can be made with beef or chicken stock and contains fish sauce and ginger. It is often served with scallions, coleslaw, and fried sticks of bread.
- Philippine congee, called lugaw or arroz caldo, contains saffron, ginger, and sometimes meat. Less common ingredients include boiled eggs, pepper, chilies, puto, lumpiang toge, tofu, fish sauce, calamansi sauce, toyo, and spring onions. It is common as a street food.
- Cream of Rice, a brand of American rice porridge, boiled in milk or water with sugar or salt.
- Kheer (or Ksheer), a traditional Indian sweet dish, made of rice boiled in milk.
- Tsampurado, a sweet chocolate rice porridge in Philippine cuisine. It is traditionally made by boiling sticky rice with cocoa powder, giving it a distinctly brown color and usually with milk and sugar to make it taste sweeter.
- Congee, a common East Asian, Southeast Asian, and South Asian dish of boiled-down rice:
- Buckwheat porridge, made of buckwheat in butter, is eaten by many people in Russia and Ukraine, with yoghurt more common in the Caucasus.
- Quinoa porridge.
- Millet porridge:
- Foxtail millet porridge is a staple food in northern China.
- A porridge made from pearl millet is the staple food in Niger and surrounding regions of the Sahel.
- Oshifima or otjifima, a stiff pearl millet porridge, is the staple food of northern Namibia.
- Middle Eastern millet porridge, often seasoned with cumin and honey.
- Munchiro sayo, a millet porridge eaten by the Ainu, a native people of northern Japan.
- Milium in aqua was a millet porridge made with goat's milk that was eaten in ancient Rome.
- Koozh is a millet porridge commonly sold in Tamil Nadu.
- Sorghum porridge:
- Rye porridge:
- Rugmelsgrød, a traditional dinner of the Danish island Bornholm, made of ryemeal and water.
- Ruispuuro, a traditional Finnish breakfast.
- Flax porridge, often served as part of a mixture with wheat and rye meal. Red River Cereal and Sunny Boy Cereal are common brands in Canada.
- Mixed grain and legumes in Ethiopia:
- Genfo is a thick porridge made by lightly roasting, milling and cooking any combination of Ethiopian oats wheat, barley, sorghum, millet, maize, chickpeas, yellow peas, soybeans or bulla, the starch from the root of the false banana tree; it is traditionally eaten for breakfast with a dollop of clarified, spiced butter (kibe) or oil and chili-spice mix berbere, or with yoghurt. For those who can afford it, it is a popular holiday or Sunday breakfast dish and is often given to pregnant women and women after birthing to bring them back to health and strength.
- Atmit, Muk or Adja is a thinner version of Genfo porridge for drinking, mixed often with spiced, clarified butter, milk and honey, or on its own with a pinch of salt. It is popular in the rainy season and for nursing the sick back to health.
- Besso, made of roasted and ground barley is a popular snack for travellers and, in olden times, foot soldiers. The powder is either mixed with a bit of water, salt and chili powder to make a thick bread like snack, or mixed with more water or milk and honey for drinking. The Gurage and other southern tribes in Ethiopia ferment the Besso for a few days with water and a bit of sugar, add a pinch of salt and chili and drink it as a fortifying and energising meal-in-a-drink.
- Spelt porridge.
- Multigrain Porridge
- Ingridents: roasted rice, wheat, roasted gram, jowar, maize, millet, groundnut, cashewnut, corn, barley, ragi. Roast all the ingridients individually in a pan without any ghee/oil. Ground them together into a coarse powder.
- This porridge is rich in protein and good for childern.
Varieties and preparation of oat porridge
In many countries both plain ground, crushed, steel-cut, etc. oats are available, and also many commercial porridge-based foods which may cook faster and contain any of a large range of flavourings, all cooked by boiling with water and sometimes milk.
The US Consumer Reports Web site found that the more cooking required, the more oaty the flavor and the less mushy the texture. They tested ten flavored instant oatmeals, finding that nine were good but nothing special; their sweetness and maple or brown-sugar taste overwhelmed the oats. The tenth instant oatmeal rated only fair. The longer-cooking of four unflavored oatmeals all tasted very good. The best rated was not a fast-cooking version, requiring about 30 minutes. Others took 5 or 1 minute. They were all good, chewy with a toasted nutty grain flavor; the slowest-cooking one was the best. Cooking in a microwave oven would change the timings and possibly the results.
Fineness and properties
Oat grains can be sold whole (groats), ground into oatmeal or Scottish oats, steamed and rolled into flakes of varying thickness, or cut into two or three pieces, steel-cut. Groats can be used as other whole grains; they are a little softer than wheat berries. Rolled oats can be used for many purposes; the bigger the flakes, the chewier the result. They may be precooked—instant varieties. Steel-cut, as a cereal, are much chewier. They are suitable as a breakfast cereal, but less so for baking, as they do not soften well. It is said that, because of their size and shape, the body breaks steel-cut oats down more slowly than rolled oats, reducing spikes in blood sugar and keeping you full longer.
Nutritional information for oat porridge
The nutritional information for typical porridge oats without additional flavouring is basically that of oats; milk and flavourings added during cooking or afterwards add other nutrients; some, such as excessive sugar and sodium, may be less desirable. Oats are a good source of dietary fibre; health benefits are claimed for oat bran in particular, which is part of the grain. Nutritional information is available from suppliers, and is printed on packaged oats.
- Asida, from the Arabian cuisine.
- Barley gruel.
- Congee, a type of rice porridge that is eaten in many Asian countries.
- Dalia, North Indian and Pakistani breakfast item, primarily made of crushed (dulit) wheat grain boiled with water and preferably milk, considered easily digestible, nursing.
- Flahavan's is the most popular brand of Irish porridge oats.
- Gofio, Canary Islands foodstuff made from roasted sweetcorn and other grains (e.g., wheat, barley or oats), used in many ways in parts of the world to which Canary Islanders have emigrated.
- Krentjebrij, a traditional Dutch porridge-like dessert.
- Mush, made from cornmeal.
- Quaker Oats, large multinational manufacturer, suppliers of Quaker Oats, Quaker Instant Oatmeal, etc.
- Ready Brek, a British brand of instant shredded oat cereal.
- Tapioca pudding.
- porridge (pronunciation: /ˈpɒrɪdʒ/), Oxford English Dictionary, retrieved 2013-04-04
- How to cook perfect porridge, Felicity Cloake, The Guardian newspaper, 10 November 2011 An article by an expert who has systematically tried many variants to get the best result.
- Lloyd, J & Mitchinson, J: "The Book of General Ignorance". Faber & Faber, 2006.
- Nutrition diva: Are Steel Cut Oats Healthier?
- Grant, Mark (1999). Roman Cookery. London: Serif. ISBN 978-1897959602.
- "For best oatmeal taste, be patient". Consumer Reports. November 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- "Steel Cut, Rolled, Instant, Scottish? (Marisa's comment, November 10, 2012 at 9:46 am)". Bob's Red Mill. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
- Typical plain rolled oats: Sainsbury's Whole, Rolled Porridge Oats
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