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cozy multigrain porridge + planning ahead

When did the mornings get so cold? As soon as I sleepily clamber out of the sheets, I’m fast tracking to the tea kettle lately. The days are still quite warm, but I’ve been feeling hot breakfasts in the early, brisk hours before the sun peeks out over all of the pretty trees and buildings. I love a big bowl of whole grain porridge once the deep fall sets in, lightly spiced and still a bit chewy with a heavy drizzle of maple syrup. It’s steamy-warm, filling and wholesome.

Truth bomb: I don’t exactly love standing over the stove, endlessly stirring oats for 20 minutes on a work or school day. It makes me stress-y because I know there’s probably a million other things I should be doing besides lingering over the pot. Sunday morning in my jams with some tea and my man? That’s a whole other (wonderful, dreamy, cozy etc) thing. I needed a plan-ahead strategy that could make this healthy porridge work for my every day.

This recipe features raw buckwheat and quinoa in addition to the more typical steel-cut oats. They lighten up the mix and provide a lot of nice texture and flavour variation. I toast the grains in a bit of extra virgin coconut oil and warming spices before adding hot almond milk. It has a bit of an indulgent chai tea and rice pudding effect. The final, teeny addition of some vanilla extract seals the deal. Also, I’ll show you how to make it so that you can have wholesome hot cereal from scratch all week without 20 minutes of stirring and ravenous waiting. Neat, huh?

chai spiced multigrain porridge
serves: 10
notes: Toasting the grains in the warmed spices and oil makes this porridge so delicious. Also feel free to use all oats if you like, the amount of liquid would stay the same. All quinoa or buckwheat? Use double the amount of liquid (ie 1 cup grain: 2 cups liquid).

1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil (or butter, other oil etc) + a bit extra
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats (not kasha, these are light green and not toasted)
1/2 cup quinoa, soaked and rinsed
3 cups boiling water
3 cups milk of your choice (I’ll usually reach for almond or hemp), warmed to a simmer
heaped 1/4 cup dried currants (or other dried fruit)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with some of the coconut oil. Set aside.

Heat the remaining coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves. Stir the spices around in the oil until fragrant and not so raw-smelling, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the oats, quinoa and buckwheat to the oil and spices. Stir the grains around in the pot, evenly coating all of the grains and toasting them up a bit. You should be able to smell the oats getting a bit nuttier. Keep stirring and toasting for about 4 minutes.

Add the boiling water slowly and give the mix a good stir. Scrape the bottom of the pot if necessary

Once the grains have absorbed a good amount of the water, start adding the hot milk in 3/4-1 cup increments. Once the milk gets to a simmer, I usually just put it on low and leave it to the side of the porridge pot, slowly adding it in as the grains absorb the liquid. Keep stirring the porridge frequently.

Once the porridge has absorbed all of the milk and the grains are cooked to your liking, add the currants and vanilla. Stir to combine. Scrape the mixture into the greased 9 x 13 baking dish and smooth it out. Let cool at room temperature for about an hour. Cover and cool in the refrigerator completely. Once cooled, cut into 10 even portions.

To serve: remove one serving of the porridge from the dish and place in a small sauce pan with a heavy splash of milk or water over medium heat. Start breaking up the porridge with the back of a wooden spoon until it returns to its original consistency. Stir until mix is uniform and hot, about 2 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup and fruit/chopped nuts/whatever you like. Alternatively, you could sweeten the actual porridge in the pot as it’s heating up.

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michelle25/08/2011 - 6:46 pm

this has inspired to up my breakfast game! so lovely looking.

Divya Vikram26/08/2011 - 3:46 pm

Lovely! I like the make-ahead idea!

janet @ the taste space27/08/2011 - 1:41 am

I routinely make a big batch of steel cut oats and it the leftovers all week. I agree that it definitely helps with the morning routine and it still tastes great when reheated. I am loving your idea to add quinoa and buckwheat to the mixture. :D

Amanda28/08/2011 - 11:47 am

Yum! I love a hot breakfast but, like you, don’t love taking 20+ minutes on a weekday to make breakkie. Will have to try this now that mornings are cooler in TO.

Kelsey (Happyolks)28/08/2011 - 3:23 pm

This looks absolutely divine. I think I might throw in a few hemp seeds for the heck of it, too :) … p.s LOVE your phrase “truth bomb,” totally going to be using that!

Laura28/08/2011 - 4:13 pm

Yet another truth bomb!: I’ve been eating it with a dab of hemp seed butter swirled in! Grains and hemp seeds are good buddies :)

[…] Wright from The Fess Mess has this perfect Mulitgrain Porridge recipe to start off the day. And the bonus is you can make it […]

Ruby19/09/2011 - 6:37 am

This looks absolutely wonderful. How long will they keep (I assume in the fridge)?

Laura19/09/2011 - 7:29 am

Hi Ruby,
Once you thoroughly cool the mix and divide it up, it should be safe for 5-7 days. It was fine for me anyway!

Mamas Gotta Bake19/09/2011 - 12:39 pm

The recipe looks delish, and the photos are absolutely beautiful!!!

Terri07/09/2013 - 3:26 am

Will this freeze for later use?

Laura Wright08/09/2013 - 6:52 am

Hey Terri, I’ve never tried freezing grains in a state like this. I think you’d have to wrap the squares of cooled porridge pretty tightly with plastic wrap and then seal them in another container as well though. Let me know how it goes if you try it!
-L

[…] found a solution. Thanks to The First Mess, I’m routinely chowing down on warm, healthy cozy multigrain porridge. It warms unattended while my coffee percolates, allowing me free reign of the house to get ready […]

Jen04/01/2014 - 11:32 pm

Hey Terri & Laura,
I made this awhile back and froze the squares. It worked wonderfully! Have been craving this mix of grainy goodness again. It was a hit – even my husband remembers it fondly and has asked for more!

eats | goddess of eats19/06/2014 - 5:23 pm

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