Porridge is a dish prepared with oats. Any variety of oats, may be crushed, steel cut or rolled can be used in the preparation of this dish. Porridge may also be spelled as ‘porage’ and ‘parritch’. Not only oats but many other cereals are also incorporated in water or milk to make porridge recipe. Sometimes legumes and grains are also cooked to make similar dishes like polenta or grits.
Though, porridge is typically prepared with thick consistency, but many variations are prepared with water-like consistency as well. This variation is called ‘gruel’. The standard meals in Victorian workhouses include this dish with great pleasure.
Porridge is an easily digestible food that is well-suited for sick-people. In Russian and Northern European cuisines, it is being served as a most conventional and traditional dish. There are many varieties of porridge and all of them include distinctive ingredients according to the taste and the local preferences.
In many cuisines, this healthy dish is among the staple foods.
History and Origin of Porridge
Though the origin of porridge is still hazy, but it is said that this dish was quite popular in North Europe and Russia, as a traditional dish. According to the local conditions of these regions, barley and yellow peas were the main ingredients used for making this dish. It was typically prepared as savory dish that use to include various kind of meats, vegetables and herbs. The process of making it involves either kettle or earthen pots. It is until bread has been introduced, the porridge recipe was the only way to eat cereals. Prisoners in UK were also use to feed on porridge.
Oat porridge is regarded the most ancient porridge recipe as traces of this food has been found in the stomach of the 5000 years old Scandavian Neolithic bog body.
Ingredients Prescribed by Porridge Recipe
Porridge is essentially prepared with any kind of cereal and grains. Oats, rice, maize and barley are the most popular ingredients used to make this highly nutritious dish. Water or milk or both are used as its main inclusions. Variety of legumes such as peasemeal is used in porridge recipe.
Both sweet and savory versions are popular among different cuisines. Sugar and honey are usually included to add sweetness to the dish, whereas, the savory version is prepared with meats, vegetables and different herbs.
Wheat and corn dishes are also quiet popular as porridge dishes. Few unique and interesting ingredients that make this dish quite sumptuous are pumpkin seeds, red cooked kidney beans, chili sauce and potato paste.
Methods of Preparation of Porridge
Porridge is prepared with boiling method. Cereals, legumes and grains are boiled in water or milk or both. Vegetables and meats that are included in this dish are usually stir-fried before adding to the boiling ingredients. Seasonings along with other ingredients are also added while boiling. The sugar may be added in a syrup form or in crystal form and stirred until dissolved.
Most of the cereals and grains cook while boiling, whereas few of them require soaking some hours before cooking. The consistency of the dish can be adjusted by adding enough milk or water. In the end, cream may be added to give extra richness and smoothness.
Serving and Eating of Porridge Recipe
Porridge is typically served warm as a breakfast dish. Ready made versions of this popular dish are commonly sold by the famous cereal manufacturers such as ‘Scott’s Porage Oats’. This is an easily digestible dish, hence well-suited for children and old people.
Sweet porridge recipe is a popular breakfast dish, whereas savory version is quite popular as a main meal.
Popular Versions of Porridge Recipe
- Oat recipe – This version is has been introduced in ancient times and still prevailing in almost all cuisines. Few examples are Zacierka and Mingau de aveia.
- Maize recipe – Grits, atole, daliya and polenta are some of the most popular maize porridge recipes.
- Peasemeal dish – This version is quite popular in English and Scottish cuisine. This dish is typically made up of dried peas.
- Rice version – Cream of rice, kheer and cognee are the examples of sweet porridge made up of rice.
- Wheat recipe – Upma, farina and semolina are the wheat versions of porridge recipe.
- Buckwheat, quinoa, rye, flax and millet are also popular for making different sweet and savory recipes.
Health and Nutritional Facts Related to Porridge
The nutritional value of porridge depends upon the cereal, grain and legume used in the preparation of the dish. Almost all the ingredients used in this dish are extremely healthy and beneficial for people of all age groups. It is a great source of protein and energy, hence a good start for athletes and sportspersons. For sick and old people this highly digestive dish is quite beneficial. Carbohydrates, potassium and iron are also present in abundance in this hearty dish.