Now that you have a pan of deeply caramelized onions, what do you do with them?
Well, one of my favorite ways to eat them is for breakfast. Yep, savory breakfasts. Such an un-American thing.
Before anyone accuses me of being unpatriotic, let me clarify. I mean no disrespect, but breakfasts in America—with a few sausage and bacon-like exceptions—generally fall into one of three categories: starchy, eggy, or sweet.
(With the inevitable cold pizza, on occasion.)
Not so in other countries.
In Britain there are kippers, in Austria there are cold cuts and cheese on rolls, but it is Asia where savory breakfasts really come into their own. There’s rice, of course, but also pickles, soup, fish. It’s a far cry from muffins, toast and jam, or sweetened breakfast cereal.
Do you know about congee? This traditional rice porridge is served throughout Asia (called different names in different countries: okayu, chok, juk, bubur). It’s a bowl of soupy rice seasoned with a small amount of savory additions—meat, egg, fish, green onions, fried garlic, kimchi.
I’d say more of the world eats a savory breakfast than sweet.
Five years living in Asia shook me out of any breakfast rut I might have been in. By the end of my time there, my favorite breakfast was chunky miso soup poured over a bowl of rice. So you’ll understand that, for me, it wasn’t all that strange to decide that I could do something more interesting with my oatmeal than put milk and sugar on it.
I decided to take it savory.
These days one of my very favorite breakfasts—the one I have to ration because I find it totally addictive—is curried oatmeal with caramelized onions.
CURRIED OATMEAL WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS
I usually cook this as a single serving, though the recipe can be easily multiplied (cooking time will go up). I like a large, shallow pot, which also helps to cook things quickly. When I first started making this dish I put in butter or a splash of olive oil, but one day I was out and found that it’s fine without.
1 cup water
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp madras curry powder
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
2-3 tbs caramelized onions (it’s good with 2 tbs, better with 3).
Slight splash of olive oil or pat of butter, if desired (optional).
In a wide saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rolled oats, stir, and reduce heat slightly. Mixture should still be bubbling briskly. Add curry powder and salt, stir to mix. After two minutes of cooking, add 2 tbs onions, stir again. After another two minutes oats should be done. Add butter or olive oil, if using, and top with even more onions as desired. Serve hot