Saturday, July 02, 2011

Breakfast #42: Carabao’s Milk Oatmeal with Dates & Nuts

I have been asked more than once what my favorite local ingredient is. And more than once I have found myself at a loss for words, my mind a complete and shameful blank. It’s not that I don’t have favorite local ingredients. On the contrary, I love my local ingredients! It could very well be that I have too many favorites, so that when asked to name one, or only a few, my mind just closes itself to the (impossible) task of choosing.

It could also be that I am, simply put, not very good at interviews.

Whatever the case, I have decided that this blog is the perfect place to celebrate and share all my favorite local ingredients --- as many as I want, at my own pace. They are an integral part of my cooking after all and deserve a little spotlight as recompense for the deplorable way I fail to give them their due when asked.

One such favorite ingredient is carabao’s (buffalo) milk. Carabao’s milk has a much higher fat content than regular cow’s milk making it one of the richest and creamiest milks you can find. As such, when you substitute it for regular cow’s milk, it makes whatever you use it for that much more decadent. Even something as innocent as oatmeal.

Carabao’s Milk Oatmeal with Dates & Nuts
  • 1 1/2 cup carabao’s (buffalo) milk
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup dates, chopped
  • 1/4 nuts of your choice (I used cashews but I’m sure they would be splendid with pecans), roughly chopped
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons butter and 2 teaspoons dark muscovado sugar
- Set aside some of the chopped dates and nuts.
- Heat the carabao’s milk in a saucepan over a medium flame just until it almost starts to simmer. Add the oats, dates, and nuts, stir, and lower the heat.
- Cook over a gentle flame, with your pot semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until oatmeal is done, about 10-15 minutes. Make sure to keep checking, especially towards the end, to prevent it from sticking. Served topped with extra chopped dates and nuts.
- If you want to make this even more decadent: Melt the optional butter in a pan. When the bubbles have subsided, add the muscovado and swirl the pan until the muscovado is dissolved. Add the extra chopped dates and nuts and toss. Top each serving of oatmeal with some of the caramelized dates and nuts and whatever butter remains.
- Serves 2-3

Never had I tasted oatmeal that was this luxurious. It is so creamy that with each soft spoonful you forget about oatmeal’s healthy and fibrous reputation. The nuts add an earthy crunch and the dates a mild smoky sweetness. If you are going to go all the way with the butter caramelized date & nut topping, as I did, you may actually feel, for the very first time, guilt over oatmeal. This isn’t for lightweights. I would go as far as to say that this could very well pass for a dessert – pressed into a dainty cup and served in smaller portions, sort of the oat version of a rice pudding.

Carabao’s milk is a wonderful ingredient to use. It is also fantastic for rice pudding and cuajada. I am sure it would be equally stellar in custards and flans.

Here are some other favorite local ingredients I have talked about before:
- Filipino mangoes
- Lato (seaweed)
- Talbos ng kamote (sweet potato greens)
- Bagoong (shrimp paste)
- Tinapang bangus (smoked milkfish)
- Muscovado sugar
- Aligue (crab fat)
- Patani
- Monggo (mung beans)
- Kesong Puti (fresh white cheese)
I have also mentioned carabao’s milk here and here.


Lee said...

Oh wow... I'm gonna go milk me a carabao! Joking aside this makes me want to have breakfast this evening.

Sayang you were not at the Lechon EB

Mom-Friday said...

Yes yes yes! Looks so decadent indeed!
This made me want to have oatmeal tomorrow :) Haven't had one for the longest time...

miri leigh said...

Great healthy! Thank you!

Grace In Full Measure said...

Oh wow, looks so good! My Kapampangan mom mixes carabao milk with hot rice and some salt. She then eats it with practically anything! Yum! Oh and I love your cup!

Junglefrog said...

O that looks really good. Now ofcourse I had never heard of carabao milk and I'm pretty sure it will be hard to find here! Looks great though!

Midge said...

It's times like these when I wish we actually had a real carabao to get fresh milk from! It makes oatmeal so deliciously decadent and the cream you skim off the top makes the most unctuous chocolate truffles. :D

(Oh, and dare I recommend crushed hazelnut torrone to go on top of your oatmeal? I tried it once; it was amaaaaazing!)

Ohhthat! by tin said...

ohh! i'm going to try this out... looks so delish! thanks for the recipe. :-)

Marvin said...

I can only imagine how luscious that milk must be! How is carabao's milk is processed btw? Is it pasteurized?

myFudo said...

Oatmeal or "porridge" as it was called in my childhood home was never decadent. I think you've changed the way I view an oatmeal breakfast. The date and nut topping sounds heavenly.

ChichaJo said...

Lee! I am so sorry I missed it! And missed chowing down on some premium pork goodness with you!

Hi Mom-Friday! I love oatmeal and have it very often...hence all the different versions, heehee :)

Thanks Miri :)

Hi Grace! I can imagine liking that combination…yum!

Hi Junglefrog! It’s buffalo milk…very rich!

Hi Midge! The cream will definitely give anything a touch of decadence :) Crushed hazelnut torrone to top sounds magnificent!

Hi Tin! Hope you like it!

Hi Marvin! Luscious is the word! The one that I buy is pasteurized but in the market I can find fresh…it’s sold in old Ginebra bottles with a stopper made of folded up banana leaf :)

Hi myFudo! Oatmeal can be very decadent if you put your mind to it…which I am always more than happy to do :)

Mirage said...

Oh, I love carabao milk...never tried it on oats though. Now I'm craving and I doubt if I'll ever find carabao milk around.... *sigh*

P.S. Sniffing in your kitchen as always... :D

Trissa said...

I'm so envious of you right now. Being able to have carabao's milk. What a luxurious idea to have it for breakfast. You've just elevated oatmeal!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mirage! Maybe you can find buffalo’s milk? That would be practically the same I suspect…Glad to see you here!

Hi Trissa! Would you be able to get buffalo milk there? I love oatmeal and I think it deserves to be elevated ;)

Katrina said...

YAY! Yet another way to eat oatmeal! And even better, a way to use the leftover dates and walnuts I just happen to have! Now I can't wait to try this! Hmm...should I have the chickpeas or oatmeal first, tomorrow? :-D

Katrina said...

Okay...I just re-read my comment from last night and I ended all but one sentence with an exclamation! But that shows how excited I was -- would you believe, today, right before waking up, I actually *dreamt* that I was making this date-walnut oatmeal? Now that I've eaten it, I have to say THANK YOU!!! It was really like a dessert already. I was scraping the bowl and trying to make it last as long as I could. And I didn't even have carabao's milk, just low-fat! What I loved best was how the browned butter with muscovado(OF COURSE I went the more decadent route) then flavored the whole bowl of oats. It certainly made today worth waking up for. :-)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Katrina! So nice to hear from you (I miss you!)...nicer still to hear that you enjoyed this rendition of our beloved oatmeal! It's good to know there is at least one person who is not sick of my oatmeal posts ;) Try the carabao's milk next's really over the top in a good way!

"It certainly made today worth waking up for" -- That is what breakfast is all about!! :)

horton said...

I LOVE your mug/bowl there! Is there ANY way you would tell me if it's available online? I don't normally comment on blogs I visit but I just have to know - that is if you're willing to share!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Horton! It was a wedding gift so I'm not sure if it's available online...wish I could be more help!