cooking, home cooking, huzhou

A Quaker A Day

11.09.09 | 9 Comments

“Wow. Weird.”

That was the response I got when I told TJ about what I usually eat for breakfast.

Actually, I find it to be positively delightful and delicious, so much so that I sometimes eat it for breakfast and lunch in one day.

I’ve never really been much of a Chinese breakfast person. I enjoy 粥zhou, or watery rice porridge; 油条youtiao, or long fried dough sticks; steamed meat buns; weird jelly tofu drinks; fresh soymilk. I just can’t eat it for breakfast. When I do, it either has a tendency to sit like an oil brick in my stomach and/or leave me feeling more sluggish than ready to meet 40 semi-comatose college students.

In the past half year, I’ve become an oatmeal person. I was never one before, though I remember being very young and eating oatmeal with my dad, putting a spoonful in our mouths then yanking the spoon out and holding it over our heads with a triumphant flourish.

After a college stint with a nutritionist, I am now a little obsessive over mixing protein + carb for breakfast. And what better breakfast protein than eggs? In China, it’s cheap and easy—they sell eggs by the plastic bagful, 10 rmb (approximately $1.50) for about eighteen eggs. TJ thinks it’s weird, but he also admits his palate is not the most adventurous.

I know that most of you spend your spare thoughts wondering just what I eat on a regular basis. Wonder no more!

First, start with three eggs. Separate the whites from the yolks, and reserve one of the yolks (we aren’t in Cool Hand Luke here. No need to stretch our cholesterol to the limits.)

z_yolk shell

Then I put 2/3 a cup of quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal in a bowl with some water and pop it in the microwave for about two minutes. Though sometimes if I make a full cup of oatmeal, I’ll go wild and put in two egg yolks. That’s Huzhou living.

Meanwhile, put the eggs in a nonstick pan with some salt. Let them cook.

z_whites bubble

Now this is a special bowl of oatmeal, because one weekend in Shanghai, I found this:

z_pumpkin cup

Mmmm, radioactive orange goo? No, pure pumpkin purée! I was really unnaturally excited about this. So I decided to make use of the extra fiber and put half a cup in my oatmeal.

Ding! Oatmeal’s ready! Take it out, add a little boiling water if it’s too dry. Then pop in the egg yolk.

z_yolk perch

Don’t get squeamish that it’s raw; the hot oatmeal will cook it. Stir it in. Just make sure you have blue fingernails.


This gives the oatmeal a really nice richness and thickness. On the decadent two-yolk days, the oatmeal is like velvet.


z_pumpkin plop



Then add whatever sweetener you like in whatever amount suits you—just remember you want enough to offset/compliment the saltiness of the egg whites. At least a few tablespoons of sweetness. I’m not going to tell you my number. It’s shameful. Shhhhhh.

z_sugar on top


Scrape the egg whites out of the pan.

z_scraping whites

Put them on the oatmeal.

z_whites on top2


z_final stir

Tada! My mouth is watering…this is the perfect balance between sweet and salty. Plus it’s a filling, nutritious meal, and it only looks creepy because of the pumpkin. If you prefer your vittles to be in the beige color category, forgo the pumpkin. Either way, I could eat it by the swimming pool-full. Go forth and Quaker-fy!

z_poatmeal done

That particular trip to Shanghai also yielded a tom yum soup mix. One day after class I was feeling adventurous. If one could make tom yum soup, why couldn’t one make tom yum oatmeal? Oatmeal cooks in water, the soup mix gets mixed with water, so…why not?




And because I like my protein + carb, I added in some pieces of boiled chicken breast.

z_tomyum oatmeal

It was more like tom meh than tom yum nom.

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