The term “Granola” probably makes you conjure up a scene in 1970s Los Angeles, zooming into Sunset Boulevard, perhaps, where Hollywood stars ordered their power breakfasts brimming with high-protein ingredients like chia seeds, tossed with hand-pounded crunchy oats and grande coffees before taking on the day. Zoom out back to the reality of today, where even small towns around the world, not just America, are teeming with counterculture lifestyles, and you’ll see fruit-nut muesli and seed-studded granola varieties, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, listed conscientiously on menus.
In the wake of this new health-food revolution that is sweeping past us, it isn’t essentially a lofty task to make your own wholesome breakfast mix or snack fix. Our grandmothers and mothers have been at it for ages now, and if that isn’t inspiration enough, what is? Here’s a Do-It-Yourself granola recipe that works like a charm, whether you’re in La-la-land or just at home sweet home. You don’t need a dictionary to learn how to pronounce the ingredients, or a lavish list of exotic add-ons. You can mix and match your favorite dry fruits and nuts, seeds and even staples. Rolled millets or wheat, flax or hemp seeds, desiccated coconut slices, prunes, cranberries are just a few of the variables we can think of. The expanse of the baking sheet, as it were, is your only limit.
(Makes 5 cups)
- 2.25 cups (200g) rolled oats (preferably not the instant/quick-cooking variety)
- 2 tablespoons seeds (sunflower or pumpkin)
- 1/4 cup flaked or chopped nuts
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons coconut or sunflower oil
- 2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (raisins, dates, blueberries, cranberries, apricots, kiwi, or pineapple)
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325°F / 160°C.
- Line a large baking tray with parchment or foil. Set aside.
- Place the oats, seeds and nuts in a large mixing bowl and mix lightly.
- Pour the honey and oil in a saucepan. Whisk in the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and heat the mixture until it just starts to simmer. Do not boil.
- Pour the hot liquids over the oat mixture and toss well with a spoon.
- Spread the oats evenly in the baking tray in a thin layer.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the oats get to a deep brown colour without getting burnt. Remove the tray from the oven after about 12 minutes of baking, toss the oats and spread them out again. Return to the oven to complete toasting.
- Place the tray on a rack and allow the oats to cool completely. The granola will crunch up as the oats cool.
- Toss in the chopped dried fruit and chocolate chips with the granola once cooled completely.
- Store in an airtight container to retain freshness.
Tadka Tip: This granola can be eaten by the spoonful as a snack, with milk as cereal and scooped on top of yogurt and fruit for a light breakfast. Its lightly sweet and spicy flavours and crunch work well when sprinkled on salads, or on top of wholesome muffins or snack cakes just before you pop them into the oven.