Quinoa Porridge with Caramelized Bananas
Last week I was listening to the morning news and they mentioned some study which says you live longer if you eat oatmeal porridge – try telling my digestive system that. Oatmeal porridge is a delicious, creamy, healthy and very filling breakfast. If I could I’d eat it everyday, but unfortunately oats are only something I can have now and again.
That morning I did find myself having a bit of a craving for some porridge but I thought I’d make something that feels lighter in my tummy while still tasting very creamy and like a treat.
Quinoa is very nutritious. It is one of the few plant sources of complete protein and it also provides fibre and many minerals. You can find out more about how good quinoa is here.
I will admit that even if bananas were not healthy I would still be adding them to this porridge. But, as we all know, bananas are very good for you. And I recently read out two possible benefits to eating bananas that seem almost too good to be true.
The first really isn’t about bananas so much as the theory that it is more important to have a higher intake of potassium to sodium than it is to reduce your overall salt intake. Bananas are very rich in potassium. I love salt and it is the one thing I really could not go without so I’m really hoping this is true. I’m not entirely convinced – mostly because I’m worried about letting myself have as much salt as I like because I believe that I’m eating enough potassium rich foods to compensate. But I really hope this is true.
The second benefit of eating bananas is something I wasn’t aware of at all. Bananas apparently contain tryptophan, some of which the body converts to serotonin, the stuff that makes you feel good, and melatonin, the stuff that helps you sleep. So bananas, possibly, can make you feel better and sleep easier. Here is some more information on that. A lot of foods contain tryptophan, the richest sources are from animals, but there are plenty of good plant sources of tryptophan too. No wonder so many of us feel better after eating.
The bananas that I use in this are ripe but not to the stage that they are spotted brown, they are sunny yellow and not hard. It’s easier to caramelize banana if it is just ripe, i.e. yellow but not fully soft. I caramelized these when they were a little more ripe than this because it means you don’t need to add as much sugar (or maple syrup). The funny thing about banana is that the less ripe it is when you cook it (provided of course it’s not green and under-ripe) the more banana flavour it has. If you cook with very ripe (spotted brown) bananas they will barely taste of banana they just taste sweet. Lemon brings out the banana flavour and that’s why I sprinkle the slices with it.
This porridge is gluten-free but I wanted to point out that actually oats are naturally gluten-free also the reason why they are usually not suitable for suitable coeliacs is, I think, because of the way they are often collected and/or processed together with gluten-containing foods. So you can find gluten-free oats. I don’t think I have a problem with gluten – or oats really – but they are something I seem to have to limit a little. Just a little.
I have added a little butter to this but you can make it vegan by adding an extra tablespoon of oil and small pinch of finely ground salt.
- 75g quinoa
- almond or rice milk
- maple syrup
- 2 bananas
- 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
- pat of butter
- pinch ground cinnamon
- pinch ground cardamon
- lemon juice
- To make the quinoa porridge:
- Rinse quinoa thoroughly.
- Cover to twice its depth in almond or rice milk. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until all the milk has been absorbed.
- Remove from the heat, generously pour over some more milk and stir it in well.
- Stir in a couple tablespoons of maple syrup and cover until ready to serve.
- To caramelize the bananas:
- Heat a the oil in a frying pan to a moderate heat. If using the butter, add to pan and once it has melted, and is foaming a little, add the banana slices. Sprinkle over the spices and leave to carmelize for 5 minutes. Dish out the porridge at this stage.
- With a fish slice, or similar, flip over the banana slices. They should be very done, like in the photo below, if they’re not leave them for another 2 minutes. Once flipped, leave for another 2 minutes and then remove from the pan to a plate (so as any oil on the bananas will transfer to the plate rather than onto the porridge. Top the porridge with the bananas
- If using an electric cooker, turn off the heat but leave the pan where it is. If using gas, turn the heat down.
- To make the syrup:
- There will be burnt(ish) bit of banana left in the pan as well as a good bit of oil. Squeeze over some fresh lemon juice. Use the fish slice (or whatever you’re using) to loosen up all the burnt bits off the pan.
- Pour in about a tablespoon of maple syprup and mix it in well with the oil and lemon juice in the pan. It should start bubbling away and thickening very quickly. Once it has thickened just a little pour over the banana.