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Versatile, Multi-tasking Oatmeal


Running short of supplies while in quarantine led us to discover the myriad ways one can use oatmeal as a substitute ingredient in dishes ranging from soups and appetizers to main courses and desserts.


It all started one morning with a craving for arroz caldo. The kids were all very hungry and did not want to wait 30 or more minutes needed for malagkit rice to burst open and thicken.

I grabbed the box of quick cooking oats, which us seniors are advised to eat daily, and added a cupful to strained leftover tinola soup. Water, a chicken cube for more manok flavor, sliced ginger, and fried garlic were stirred in. Leftover tinola chicken pieces were shredded and added. At serving time, sliced green onions were lightly sprinkled on every bowl. Arroz caldo was ready in less than 15 minutes!


A week later, we had arroz caldo again, made from scratch using chicken breast slices, oatmeal, and Mama Sita’s Tinola Mix. Our oatmeal adventure was off to a good start.


Emboldened by the successful arroz caldo experiment, my grandson suggested oatmeal champorado to have as merienda with the bottle of gourmet tuyo and dried twakang (anchovy) we had been saving since Christmas. Artisanal Cebu chocolate from Raquel Choa provided the perfect rustic touch missing when I use imported cocoa powder.

Because we had run out of milk, we used a small pack of Coco Mama pure gata, and offered more gata at serving time for those who want a creamier blend.


Broken-up panocha served as sweetener, infusing the porridge with a lovely hint of burnt caramel that added depth to the dish.


Used sparingly, oatmeal thickens soups and stews without adding a floury taste. We have added it to Oriental crab and corn soup, Cajun gumbo, Boston clam chowder, even into Arabic molokhia.
The key is to use a light hand. Sprinkle sparsely and slowly, stirring well to prevent lumps. Keep in mind that it continues to thicken as it cools.



Oatmeal is one of the healthy ingredients of a very popular Philippine burger, sold nationwide by local franchises.

We have also successfully used oatmeal in meatloaf, meat balls, relyenong bangus, and embutido .

It is important to remember that oatmeal absorbs liquids and expands as it cooks.


Oats, among the healthiest grains on earth, are gluten-free and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Studies show that among its many health benefits are weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease.

“Oatmeal is an excellent source of soluble fiber, which swells when it comes in contact with water,” nutritionists say. “Oatmeal happens to be the best source of a particular soluble fiber, beta-glucan, that is proven to aid in lowering blood glucose levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol. Soluble fiber is necessary on a daily basis in order to keep bad cholesterol levels low and maintain good heart health.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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