Five things, actually, six things that are needed for a highly productive blog-day: Pair of glasses, lipstick, voice, a bottle of water, brain and a plate of oatmeal swallow which is a healthy recipe for Nigerian solid food lovers like me. If you a fan of pounded yam, fufu, eba, semo and you have a keen interest in adding more variety to your meal plan, this recipe is for you.
Every time I sit by my computer to blog, I am a different person. I get this totally different energy that is constantly grinning, appearing smart, chic and dominating. I’m typing and in my mind, I am admiring the swiftness of my fingers on the keyboard. If you go back to the first paragraph, you would wonder why I have lipstick and voice in the checklist. In my city, it is freezing cold, and my lips get chirped easily so, I always have lipstick nearby just so I don’t have to get up from my seat within minutes, all with the aim of trying to gloss my lips and, the voice; well, sometimes I think maybe I could change my mind and decide to do a podcast instead of a blog post. That would be funny but creative. However, for now, that is not the reason why I check my voice. I have learnt that while writing, saying a few of my thoughts out loud actually help me to stay on track with my subject and it helps me to stay focused because it presents an illusion that I am having a conversation with an actual person. Are there some usual or unusual things you like to have in place before settling in for work? Check your workspace!
With that casual intro done, in this piece, I share with you a quick recipe for making swallow or solid (whichever way you like to call it) out of oats. This is not some very recent innovation but, I got to know of it last year from my famous aunt Moji. Along with her neighbour, aunt Moji would purchase about 25kg of oats, they would split into halves and from her portion, she would blend about 5kg, store and use intermittently to prepare oatmeal swallow to be enjoyed with Nigerian soups such as egusi, ogbono or efo riro. My favourite soup is, of course, efo riro, I enjoy the richness of the leafy vegetables in this soup and how you can have some liquid remnants after eating, to drink like pepper soup.
Oats are rich in several nutritional components that are beneficial for health. According to the label of the German oat flakes in my cabinet, 100g instant oats contains 59.5g carbohydrate, 6.7g fat, 1.1g fatty acid, 13.2g protein and other mineral components. Oats are rich in soluble fibre which help to slow digestion, increase fullness and reduce appetite. This is why oats are a great choice of breakfast cereal, taking you through the course of the morning while you stay focused on your task. According to an Harvard.edu article, research has proven oats to be beneficial in improving heart health, controlling insulin level and weight, due to the slow digestion and consequent slow nutrient absorption rate. The fibrous nature of this food also makes it indeed valuable for improving digestive health.
Oat is quite versatile for incorporation into recipes. It serves as a perfect breakfast cereal, an ingredient for super-rich and healthy cookies as well as the main ingredient for this oatmeal swallow. Growing up in a Nigerian home, oatmeal porridge is not one of my liked foods. I have tried it about three times and it just doesn’t hit those buttons that would make my frontal orbital cortex choose it some other time. But, I love the oatmeal swallow. Among the various Nigerian swallows, you can confidently place this one right next to plantain swallow in terms of health benefits.
How do you prepare this oatmeal swallow? In advance, pardon me for the absence of guiding pictures in this recipe. I will take pictures the next time I prepare this food and I will update this recipe. However, this recipe is very simple. For whatever quantity of oats, start with 1/2 that quantity of water and if after mixing, you find that you could use more lightness, add a little more water and mix until well absorbed.
This is my first blog of the year and I hope that 2021 stays great or at least filled with hopes for you.
Oatmeal Swallow (Solid)
- A mill
- A pot
- Ladle or spatula
- Measuring cups
- 11/2 cup oat flakes
- 1/2 cup water
- Using a dry mill, blend oat flakes into a fine powder.
- Pour powdered oats in a pot.
- Add water. For 1 cup of powdered oats, add ½ cup of water.
- Place on medium-low heat and mix continuously with a spatula or ladle.
- Observe the water absorption rate. If more than 1/3rd of the powder is yet to absorb water, add a little more water and continue mixing until you have a solid lump. If the swallow is still too heavy for you, add more water and mix again until you get your desired lightness.
- Enjoy with your favourite soup. I recommend a lot of efo riro.