February 14, 2019
Get heart healthy this Valentine's Day and beyond with a recipe that has quickly become my morning routine. The oats immediately transport me to visits to my mother's childhood home and the city where I was born -- Chandigarh, India. Every breakfast included steaming bowls of chewy, delicious dalia.
All forms of oatmeal come from oat groats, the whole oat grain. This whole grain can be used in cooking, but typically must be soaked and remains chewy after cooking. These groats, when chopped up with steel blades into two to three pieces, make steel-cut oats, also sometimes called Irish oats. The limited processing makes them healthier than other forms of oatmeal.
How healthy? Steel-cut oats digest more slowly than rolled oats and like other forms of oats rank lower on the glycemic index (GI). Meaning your body takes time to turn this carb into sugar - a good thing. They are rich in antioxidents, including Avenanthramides, contain a powerful soluble fiber called Beta-Glucan, can reduce cholesterol and control blood sugar. Oats do not naturally contain gluten.
The main problem with steel-cut oats? They take time to cook. And, they can make a mess on the stovetop trying to keep an eye on them while they simmer. The pressure cooker alleviates all that and give you a delicious and healthy breakfast in 20 minutes.
Nonstick cooking spray
4 1/2 cups water
2 cups plain, unsweetened almond milk (any milk or dairy alternative works)
2 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed *
2 whole cloves, slightly crushed
2 black peppercorn, slightly crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup green raisins (substitute any dried fruit)
3 dates, seeds pitted and finely chopped
2 cups steel-cut oats
Spray the inner pot of the Instant Pot lightly to prevent foaming. Add the water and milk to the pot.
Add cardamom, cloves, peppercorn, cinnamon stick, raisins, and dates. Stir.
Add the oats. Don't Stir. Secure the lid on the pot. Close the pressure-release valve.
Select MANUAL and cook at high pressure for 20 minutes.
When cooking is complete, use a natural-release to depressurize and carefully remove the lid. When mixing, the oats will look brown underneath, but not a worry. Just mix them through. Remove the cinnamon stick.
Eat drizzled with honey or maple syrup and top with fresh fruit including sliced banana or blueberries.
* Crush the cardamom, cloves, and peppercorn together in a mortar and pestle. Use the outer husk of the cardamom. After cooking I just leave it in as it softens, but if you don't prefer it, just remove it. If you have a good Chai Masala on hand, substitute the spices with two teaspoons. If you want deeper Chai flavor, just double the cardamom & cloves used.