What prompted me to do this, well one of you readers gave me a reason to, plus seeing Chef Fregz’s Oatmeal and Edikang Ikong on Bella Naija last week, I left a comment on the post saying I would blog about cooking Oatmeal, but alas the flu had other plans for me last weekend. You see, when I posted my Banga Soup (recipe click HERE) a few weeks ago, I wanted to give the Starch some pizzazz. Due to its nature, it is quite difficult to give starch any shape apart from round. I don’t like being boxed in with food. While making the starch, I kept thinking of how to give it a creative shape. Cookie cutters came to mind, but I could see frustration ahead, so I nipped the idea in the bud. The next idea was to make petal shapes using a mould like I did with my Eba and Egusi Ijebu post (recipe click HERE). Because starch is quite sticky, I added it to a plastic bag first to get a ball shape which I can press into the mould. While turning it around in a plastic bag, I could see that lines were already forming on the starch and the idea was born to follow the natural order of the plastic bag roll, to create tangerine shapes.
Now, this was just harmless fun. I loved the pretty tangerine shapes and thought nothing of it. I posted it on Facebook and got asked how I did it. I responded with, I used a plastic bag and further carved with a knife for more definition. I promised to describe the process when I posted the procedure for making Starch. I didn’t take pictures at the time, I was too busy working fast before the starch got cold and un-malleable. Not knowing that a snitch was hiding in the bushes and rushed to do it and blog about it. Le Sigh. At least with The Eba Roll, I mentioned that it wasn’t my idea, saw it everywhere on Facebook and referenced where I think the idea first came from. Only to get an email from a reader a few days ago. It went thus – “Dunni can you believe that I saw this somewhere else and I kept wondering where I had seen it before. I couldn’t rest until I started searching, then I found your picture of Banga soup and Starch on Instagram and compared the timelines. Hers looks quite nasty by the way”. She sent me the link in her email and continued with “she is also a copycat in lots of ways, you just go look at her blog and wonder how Nigerians just don’t have any shame. Anyone that knows your blog well can see the telltale signs of her copying you. Example, your exact “sausage roll” explanation for The Eba Roll, even the title of the blog post, the pictures taken, exact angles of the shots. Nawa o). Your way of adding Dooney’s Kitchen Tip in bold and then explain in italics, I can continue listing many examples. Your footprints are everywhere on her blog, go check and see for yourself. Please do a blog post about this Tangerine shape for posterity reasons. Own your work”. It was an interesting email to say the least because you could see that this reader was very angry on my behalf. I can’t even type out all that she wrote. I am too polite. I thanked her and clicked on the link. I was very amused. Sent the link to a friend and we had such a good laugh about it, our belly’s ached. You know yourself, thank you for writing to me. I truly appreciate the support. You have now been appointed my Chief Investigator and I always pay my debts a la The Lannisters of Game of Thrones. Hehehehehehehehehe. Anytime I am in your area, I promise to cook till there is no space in your freezer to store it.
I have seen pictures of people using the shape on Facebook saying oh, thanks Dunni, this was quite easy. Decent thing to do. People inspire me all the time, I mention the source, so it is a good thing to inspire people too, increasing the chain of inspiration, but when yet another food blogger shared his image using that shape with no mention, I just smiled and remembered the words of my mum and so many of you who dropped comments on my New Direction Post. Hey, I am adding more people living in my shadow (mummy’s words). Hehehehehehehe. Y’all know by now that I am very mischievous right? Sorry, can’t help it. Loooooool.
Anyways, if you really don’t have time to make “The Eba Roll”, this one is quick, quick and you would be proud of what you serve. This would also work for starchy solids that have a spring to them like Amala, which may not necessarily do well when rolled. You can also make this with Semovita, Eba, Wheat etc. Joy O. shared very creative shapes with Eba on Facebook and it generated some comments questioning the hygiene of rolling Eba with your hands and the Eba being cold afterwards. Some comments were funny to say the least. I hope this post will help calm the fears of those people. No direct contact with the oatmeal (or eba, amala etc) and this happens so fast, steam will still be coming out when you are done.
Todays post is about cooking the Oatmeal in its original form, I have another post coming soon where the Oatmeal will be ground into a fine powder. I would like to say thank you to the ladies on Facebook who gave me tips on how to cook this for Atoke who expressly told me ahead of time, she would not be eating any traditional starchy solids #teamfitfam. Oatmeal to the rescue. I will also be sharing two ways of making this. First the traditional method and the ridiculously easy modern method.
You will need
Your choice of starchy solid – in my case, oatmeal
Plastic wrap – i used a white bin bag
1. Measure the amount of Oatmeal you would like to cook. You can use any brand you like, e.g. Quaker Oats. By using the oatmeal whole, you are utilising one of the advantages of oats, which is fibre. I also enjoy eating oats in this form because it gives you a full feeling without the heaviness, that you get with starchy solids. Not as light as you would feel after eating amala for example, but it has a semovita feel to it. Not sure if that makes any sense. Eba and Pounded Yam can sometimes feel like you swallowed stone, and they take time to digest, hence the sleepy feeling you sometimes get. None of that with oats. I am not dissing Eba or Pounded Yam please, they are still my favourites to eat with soup, oatmeal just gives a nice healthy change. Summer is coming, this gal wants to break out the crop top and short shorts. Don’t judge me. Loooooool
2. Soak the Oatmeal in cold water. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: you only need to add enough water that will be absorbed almost completely by the oats, leaving just a little floating on top. This is very essential, otherwise, it won’t solidify quickly enough and you will need to add dry oatmeal, making the texture of the finished produced rough and shaggy. You don’t want that.
First, the easy modern step. I tried this, thanks to my neighbour Funmi. Whack the softened oatmeal into the microwave. Give it 2 minutes at the start, depending on how much you have in there. Take it out and stir. Place in the microwave again for another 1 minus and you are done. No joke. Tried this twice already.
For the more traditional method……….
3. Heat up a little water in a small pot, or large pot depending on the number of people you are feeding. I hope you can see the water level.
4. Pour in the softened oats and stir with a wooden spoon or stick
5. Keep stirring until the oats absorb the hot water in the pot
6. Keep stirring, you may need to add more water if needed i.e. the bottom of the pot is dry.
at this stage, the oats should start feeling elastic, with each turn of the spoon. Rubbery is probably not the word to use, but it will have some recoil to it, when you stir.
Once that starts to happen, you will also notice that the oats have darkened in colour a little
At this point, I added a teeny bit of water, just to get a softer texture, which is why you can see bits of it stuck to the sides of the pot. You decide if you want to add extra water or not.
Oatmeall made in its whole form has a roughish looking texture at first, but by the time you scoop it out of the pot, the rough bits will smooth out with the pressure of scooping.
Now, time to form The Tangerine Shape
Scoop out a tennis ball sized portion into a plastic bag – beware, it will be hot, hot, hot. You can protect your palm by wrapping with a napkin
bring the plastic wrap together, to properly form a ball
bunch it at the top
Once bunched, begin to roll the ball in an anti-clockwise motion, until you see a twist form. As You do this, you will notice indentations beginning to form on the oatmeal
The tighter you roll, the deeper the indentation marks
and more pronounced. You will begin to see the oatmeal looking like a tangerine.
Once that happens, stop, unwrap the oatmeal and Ta daaaa….. You want to be artistic, you can dip a knife in water, tidy up any parts sticking out, and possibly carve in deeper lines. I did that with starch. Did not bother here. I was too hungry. Loool
this happens in seconds, a minute tops. Steam was still oozing out of the oatmeal by the time I was done. The extra effort made in presentation, even for home meals, just makes your friends and family feel extra special, besides you will be proud of your handiwork.
Now, to creating the bottom shape of a Tangerine. Same process, but not that much twisting involved, and is even faster.
As before, scoop out the oatmeal into a plastic wrap, mould it into a ball
this time, you only need to bunch it at the top tightly
You know how the bottom of a tangerine has like a circular spot in the middle and lines fan out from it. Yes, this is exactly what you want to re-create. If you bunch it too tight, some sides my bulge out, like the top tangerine shape, see the picture below. I had to stop that from happening quickly.
Ta daaaa………. See, the indentation marks from the plastic wrap are not as deep
Remember what I wrote above about the texture of the oatmeal smoothing out, once you scoop. See, it no longer roughs rough and scraggly
I have to sign off with this. Errrr, if you figured out who the copycat is (many have already), I plead The Fifth. Even though I have been told that I live in the UK, so The American Constitution doesn’t cover me. Hahahahahahahahahaha