A bowl of hot oatmeal is a solid start to the day that can keep you feeling satisfied for hours, but there’s no denying that oats are vulnerable to blandness. Brown sugar and cinnamon can solve this problem for a couple days, but the repetition of the same few flavours can get painfully boring. To combat oatmeal monotony, look to your tea collection.
I was contemplating my love for chai spices when I was struck by how delicious they might be in oatmeal. Combining the soothing properties of tea and oatmeal would be a huge winter morning victory, as long as it doesn’t get too complicated. (If there’s one thing that doesn’t fit into my mornings, it’s complications.)
Oatmeal flavourings usually come in two forms: super-fine powders (think ground cinnamon or ginger), or liquid concentrates, like vanilla extract. In this case, instead of painstakingly grinding dry spices into an ultra-fine powder, or adding some store-bought chai mix that contains who-knows-what inside, the humble tea bag has what it takes to impart the right amount of flavour. A good steep in the oatmeal’s water-to-be does the trick. Not only are the results delicious, but it’s perfectly uncomplicated.
At its core, you’re simply simmering oatmeal in a cup of tea. To do so, make a cup of strong tea. I did this with eight ounces of water and one tea bag in a small pot, but you could steep tea as you normally would with a kettle and a mug. Once the tea is finished steeping, usually five minutes, remove and discard the tea bag. Add the tea to a small pot if it’s not already in there. Add old-fashioned oats according to the package measurements, about half a cup, and simmer the oats over medium-low heat until thickened and the tea has been absorbed, roughly five minutes. Drizzle with a tablespoon of honey, and enjoy.
Although I enjoy the powerful flavour of chai, this tea oatmeal can be made with any tea flavour you like. Earl grey, green tea, herbal tea, or fruit tea will all impart their signature notes to dress up your morning oatmeal. Additionally, tea doesn’t include sugars, so you can be in control of how sweet you like it. Be aware, if you’re using a black tea or green tea with caffeine, your breakfast will indeed be caffeinated, too. If you like to plan ahead or reduce waste, try this out with overnight oats using leftover tea, or tea you over-steeped.
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