Golden Oats Primer, Part 1
This is Part 1 of a 2-part series. See Part 2 here.
Golden oats were invented by a genius cook in the test kitchens of Quaker Oats back in the late 1970’s. They were an outgrowth of the hippie health food movement that emphasized things like whole grains and whole foods. The genius cook must have been messing around with Russian Kasha, which is a traditional dish made from buckwheat groats that are coated in an egg, sautéed to dry them out and then simmered in a broth until tender. Coating the buckwheat with egg and then toasting them allows the grains to stay separate and fluffy when they cook. If you don’t coat them with egg first, then they tend become gummy and stick together like porridge. The texture is better when the grains stay separate and don’t gum-up. So anyway, the genius cook tried the Kasha method on old fashioned rolled oats, which we all know are pretty gummy when cooked, and miraculously–it worked! Thus Golden Oats were born. They made their public debut in the “Quaker Oats Wholegrain Cookbook” in 1979, and the rest is history. You can even find them on the Quaker Oats recipe site to this day.
Essentially, Golden Oats are a method of cooking rolled oats that turns them into a light, fluffy, chewy side dish, sort of like a rice pilaf. They are served instead of rice or potatoes as a cooked grain. They don’t taste anything like oatmeal. They don’t look anything like oatmeal. They are an entirely new animal.
Since Golden Oats are made from affordable old fashioned oats, they are readily accessible to pretty much everyone on a budget. If you are celiac or are especially sensitive to gluten, then use certified gluten free rolled oats. I use store-brand old-fashioned oats because my family is not bothered by the small traces of gluten they may contain. Your family may be different, so choose the oats that fit your dietary needs the best.
The egg in Golden Oats makes them pretty high in protein. If you need a vegetarian main dish, or just want a cheap dish that will still provide plenty of protein, this recipe is a good choice. As written it makes 4 side dish servings, or 2 to 3 main dish servings.
Golden oats are versatile. They can be served either sweet or savory. For the savory version you can saute a few veggies or nuts with the oats, or add your favorite herbs or spices and give them extra flavor, color and nutrition. For the sweet version you can add dried or fresh fruit, nuts cinnamon and the sweetener of your choice (honey, brown sugar, maple syrup etc.).
The first time I read about them I thought they were weird, weird, Weird! I resisted trying them until one day all I had in the house to eat was oats and eggs and I really didn’t feel like having oatmeal again. So I took out my Quaker Oats Wholegrain Cookbook, and gave them a try. I was surprised to see how tasty they were. I mean, really surprised. Like I would have almost guaranteed you that they would have turned out to be weird oatmeal mush that would have a terrible texture in my mouth and an unpleasant taste to my palate. Turns out I was Wrong! Big time wrong. Golden Oats are a surprisingly sophisticated dish. The texture is chewy, not too soft, not too hard, like properly cooked al dente pasta. The grains are separate, light and almost fluffy. The egg is invisible. You do not see it or taste it at all. The appearance is attractive on your plate–wholesome looking but also sort of gourmet in appearance, like something you’d see in an upscale vegetarian restaurant.
And to top it all off, they cook in less than 15-minutes. I mean 15-minutes from when you get the oats out of the cupboard, to when they are on the table and being spooned into hungry maws. When you do all your cooking from scratch, 15-minutes is lightning fast.
So, to summarize, Golden Oats are …
- Whole Grain
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free
- Pretty on the Plate
If you’ve never made Golden Oats before. If you want to add a new grain to your recipe repertoire. If you are adventurous and ready to try something exotic and new. If you want to add more whole grains to your diet but can’t afford kamut and teff. If you simply want to use oats in as many ways as possible because they are cheap and good. Then the time has come. Give Golden Oats a try, see if you like them as much as my crew.
Basic Savory Golden Oats
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 or 3 tablespoons dairy-free margarine or other fat of your choice
- 1-1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup chicken broth (made from bouillon cubes is fine)
- Garlic powder &/or Black pepper to taste
First chop your onion. Heat the margarine or other fat in a large skillet. Add the onion and let it fry for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring it now and then.
Meanwhile crack your egg into a large cereal bowl or a small mixing bowl. Beat it with a fork. Add the rolled oats. Stir with the fork, or your fingers until the oats are coated with the egg.
Add the rolled oats to the skillet with the onion. Sauté for about 5-minutes, or until they are lighter in color, and slightly browned. Stir in the chicken broth. I usually use 1-teaspoon of chicken broth powder or a bouillon cube and 3/4-cup of water. Add a little garlic powder or black pepper if desired.
Simmer the oats in the broth for 3 to 5-minutes, or until the broth is absorbed by the oats. Serve.
See Part-2 of this series for a collection of recipes from the Quaker Oats Wholegrain Cookbook.