Gruel.....you must be wondering, sounds cruel. This is because we are biased by novels such as Dickens 'Oliver twist' where gruel is served for the poor and is a food without nutrients. Well, that is wrong. We do have gruel everyday...you will be shocked to learn that Horlicks and Ovaltine are gruels. The brand doesn't offer the term gruel due to the negative effects associated with it.
In lay man’s terms gruel is a food make with cereal and water/milk. So, Horlicks, Nestamalt, Ovaltine are gruel. Actually porridge is a thicker version of gruel. Porridge can be eaten and gruel is watery so has to be drunk.
Gruel was the staple food of the ancient Greeks. Porridge was consumed in Northern Europe and Russia. Normally oat and used to make porridge but it can be also made from barley, corn, wheat and rice.
At present we consume porridge for breakfast and this is the easiest way of consuming legumes. The ingredients have however changed overtime and now depending on the country milk or cream is added. Some regions like mine add spices, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Even though porridge and gruel are especially for invalids, infants and athletes have it in their diet. Even if you don't belong to these categories, you are sure to love this porridge.
Just try my mother’s recipe and you will say "please can I have some more" not out of hunger like Oliver but out of greed like me.
I have used white rice in this recipe. But if you can substitute it with wild rice or brown rice then you are getting the best out of this porridge. White rice is when the husk, germ and bran of the rice are removed. White rice thus, does not have vitamin B1 that normally rice has. We should remember that foods made with hulled or brown rice gets spoiled faster than white rice. This is because the covering of rice has fat that gets spoiled fast. In Asia brown rice is connected to poverty. In the past only the sick and elderly consumed brown rice. Now we know the benefits of brown rice over white rice, it is consumed more.
The level of calories and carbohydrates in brown and white rice is the same but however there are fewer nutrients in polished rice. The presence of vitamin B1, B3 and iron is definitely a plus point for the consumers. Furthermore, brown rice contains Magnesium that the white rice does not. Brown rice also contains ‘rice bran oil’ that is removed when husking the rice to make white rice. ‘Rice bran oil’ lowers LDL cholesterol.
As we all know rice increases in volume when cooked, typically 100g of rice will weigh 250g after it’s cooked, this is due to the water absorbed.
Cook time: 1 hour 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 30 min
Yields: 10 BOWLS OF PORRIDGE
- 2 cups white rice
- 8 cups water
- 500 g mutton, beef, chicken with bones, chop into small pieces
- 3 inch cinnamon
- 3 cardamoms
- 5 to 10 cloves of garlic, halved
- 1 large onion, sliced finely
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 2 capsicum, diced
- 1 stalk curry leaves
- 1 green chili, halved
- some turmeric
- 2 tsp. pepper powder
- 1 tsp. coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
- 2 cups thin coconut milk
- 2 cups thick coconut milk
- salt to taste as needed
- 2 tsp. fenugreek
- 1/4 cup ghee
- 2 inches ginger
- 1 tsp. whole fennel, roasted and pounded
- Wash rice well and put it into a rice cooker or pan and add the water and some salt. Cook till the rice grains are soft and mushy and till the water has halved.
- Put the beef in a pressure cooker or pan with 2 cups water. Add the spices, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger garlic and cook till the beef is fully cooked.
- Once the beef is cooked add the ghee and the rice to the beef.
- In another pan add the ghee and tablespoon of onion, the green chilies and the curry leaves and fry till the onions turn golden in color.
- Add the spice powders and salt. (cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek and salt) You should get a lemon yellow color so add the turmeric accordingly. Keep in mind that the color of turmeric enhances with cooking.
- Now add the beef and rice to this and cook.
- Keep stirring now and then and add the thin coconut milk.
- Add the rest of the onion and capsicum.
- Cook for another 8 minutes till all the milk and rice have incorporated.
- Now add the thick milk. Once it boils turn off the flame.
- Add the tomato and the pepper last. Check for salt.
- Roast some fennel seeds and ground them. You can use powder if available. But roasting will enhance the flavor.
- Stir once and serve.
- Having porridge for breakfast gives you enough energy for 1/2 the day so hopefully you will not need the brunches that add up your calorie intake.
- Porridge stabilizes blood sugar levels.
- It aids in digestion and eases motion.
- It removes the cholesterol in your body.
- Oat meal porridge cures skin problems and removes the redness from eczema.
- Those with oily skin mix some oats with honey and apply on your face. Leave for 15 minutes and wash off. This reduces oiliness which in turn reduces pimples.
- Consuming porridge urges our brain to release the hormone serotonin that is responsible for livening up our spirits.
- FOR BEST RESULTS SKIP THE GHEE AND BEEF IF YOU ARE ON A DIET. AND USE BROWN RICE INSTEAD.
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