Friday, November 6, 2009

Making Oatmeal More Convenient with Japanese Technology

[In honor of Winter, here is a repeat of previous cold weather suggestions]

Oatmeal is known to reduce cholesterol, a factor in many LS/LF diets. As the parent website says, there are several types of oatmeal available in the US. My favorite is steel cut oatmeal because it is not as cutup as other types and has more texture. The downside is that it takes about 30 minutes to cook - after the water boils!

Fortunately, Japanese technology to the rescue. Now the Japanese are not big oatmeal eaters, but they generally have rice with breakfast (and most other meals). Since rice takes about as long as oatmeal to cook and since they like to sleep as much as other people they invented rice cookers with automatic timers that can be loaded at night and produce a cooked breakfast dish. (One wonders if this was then the inspiration for breadmakers too.)

I have lived in Japan and there people would not thnk of using their rice cooker for any other dish. But the manufacturers that sell in the US are more flexible since people are more likely to buy appliances with multiple uses. thus they give you rice cooker recipes for oatmeal and even broccoli sometimes! Zojirushi gives the following recipe for making oatmeal in their rice cookers:
(Cooked in a 5 cup Zojirushi Rice Cooker)

Ingredients: Serves 4
1 cup steel cut oats; 3 cups water; 1 cup half & half( Clearly not for a LS/LF diet - substitute skim milt or omit.) ; 3-4 Tbsp brown sugar
[Note: The cups involved are not US cups, but the Japanese size which is 3/4 of a US cup]

1. Place steel cut oats and water in the inner cooking pan.

2. Place the inner cooking pan in the main body of the rice cooker, plug in the unit, select the “Porridge” setting and push the “Cooking” button to start

3. When the rice cooker turns to “Keep Warm,” open the lid, stir and add the remaining ingredients.
Using the Timer function and soaking the oats overnight will help soften the texture. Please do not use the Timer function when cooking with milk or other dairy products, as they may spoil.

If your rice cooker does not have a porridge setting, please watch the rice cooker while it cooks, as it may overflow.
If you click on Customer Reviews for the Zojirushi NS-TGC10 in the Amazon ad below, you will see several customers use if for making oatmeal and suggest 2 1/2 cups of water instead of the 3 given above.

I have the more expensive NP-HBC10 Induction Heating model and can vouch that it works great for oatmeal. IH heats the whole inner pot evenly so whatever is cooked is unlikely to burn or scorch. Load it with water and oatmeal before going to bed and set the timer on it for our normal breakfast time. The oatmeal is ready when I want it!

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