We’ve all heard of the benefits of porridge for breakfast – slow-releasing oats are great for energy, full of fibre and relatively inexpensive to make. But most of us – except those die-hard Scots who stir with a spurtle (clockwise, of course), add water and a pinch of salt – eat it sweet. We like it slick with golden syrup, heavy with berries or even laden with peanut butter (is that just us?).
So what’s all this about savoury porridge then, you might be asking? A far cry from Oliver Twist’s gruel, porridge in 2018 is packing a serious punch for breakfast, brunch, and even brinner. It can be used like a risotto (oatsotto?), congee-style (like our recipe, below), spiced, dal-like or stringy with melted cheese. And it seems everyone is getting involved – from trendy young things at Roganic, in Marylebone, serving it up with bone marrow and blue cheese, to the masters of the art in Scotland.
Download The Porridge Grand Tour of Scotland map and itinerary at visitscotland.com to discover skirlie (oatmeal fried with fat and onions), oats served with kale and carrot bacon, or smoked haddock porridge with charred spring onions, egg and gin-cured salmon.
Sounds weird, but it works. Trust us!
(we used Burford Browns)
porridge oats 100g
chicken stock 700ml
shaoxing rice wine 2 tbsp
soy sauce 1 tbsp
vegetable oil 1 tbsp
garlic 1 clove,
ginger a thumb-sized piece,
chives ½ a small bunch,
finely chopped to serve
chiu chow chilli oil 1-2 tbsp,
see notes below
Put the eggs into a small pan of boiling water and simmer for 6 minutes 30 seconds, then drain and rinse until cold. Peel and quarter lengthways just before serving.
Put the porridge oats into a pan with the chicken stock and some seasoning, bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the oats have softened and have a soupy consistency. Stir through the shaoxing rice wine and soy.
Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic and ginger for 1 minute until crisp.
Spoon the porridge into bowls, spoon over the crispy garlic and ginger, sprinkle with chives, top with the egg pieces and chilli oil.
Chiu chow chilli oil contains garlic, ginger and chilli flakes. We used Lee Kum Kee’s chiu chow, which is available from larger supermarkets.