Porridge (also spelled porage, parritch, etc.) is a dish made by boiling oats (rolled, crushed, or steel cut) or other cereal meals in water, milk, or both. It is usually served hot in a bowl or dish. Other grains or legumes may be used, although dishes prepared with other ingredients are often referred to by other names, such as polenta or grits.
Oat and semolina porridge are the most popular varieties in many countries. In addition to oats, cereal meals used for porridge include rice, wheat, barley, and corn. Legumes such as peasemeal can also be used to make porridge. Gruel is similar to porridge but is much more like a drink; it has a very thin consistency and is made with water. It was served in Victorian workhouses as a standard meal.
Porridge was a traditional food in much of Northern Europe and Russia. Barley was a common grain used, though other grains and yellow peas could be used, depending on local conditions. It was primarily a savory dish, with a variety of meats, root crops, vegetables, and herbs added for flavor. Porridge could be cooked in a large metal kettle over hot coals, or heated in a cheaper earthenware container by adding hot stones until boiling hot. Until leavened bread and baking ovens became commonplace in Europe, porridge was a typical means of preparing cereal crops for the table. It was also commonly used as prison food for inmates in the UK prison system and so "doing porridge" became a slang term for a sentence in prison.
In many modern cultures, porridge is eaten as a breakfast dish, often with the addition of salt, sugar, milk or cream, depending on regional preferences. Some manufacturers of breakfast cereal, such as Scott's Porage Oats, sell ready-made versions. Porridge is one of the easiest ways to digest grains or legumes, and is used traditionally in many cultures as a food to nurse the sick back to health. It is also commonly eaten by athletes in training.
- Oat porridge, traditional and common in English-speaking countries, Nordic countries, and Germany. Oat porridge has been found in the stomachs of 5,000 year old Neolithic bog bodies in Central Europe and Scandinavia. Varieties of modern oat porridge include these:
- Steel-cut oat porridge is common in Scotland, the Isle of Man, and Ireland, where, in the last case, it is known as 'pinhead oatmeal'. It is often pre-soaked overnight.
- Rolled oat porridge is common in England and North America. It is known as 'porridge' in Ireland, Great Britain and Australia; in Canada and New Zealand as 'porridge' or 'oatmeal'; and in the United States as 'oatmeal'.
- Groats, a porridge made from unprocessed oats or wheat.
- Zacierka, a Polish traditional breakfast made with hot milk, oats and, sometimes with sugar and butter.
- Mingau de aveia, oatmeal boiled in milk, a Brazilian breakfast or side dish.
- Ready Brek, a ready made porridge cereal made from oatflour.
- Maize porridge:
- Grits, ground hominy or ground posole, is common in the southern United States, traditionally served with butter, salt and black pepper.
- Atole, a Mexican dish of corn flour in water or milk.
- Shuco, a Salvadoran dish of black, blue, or purple corn flour, ground pumpkin seeds, chile sauce, some red cooked kidney beans, which was traditionally drunk out of a hollowed-out gourd at early morning, especially coming from a hunting or drinking trip.
- Gofio, a Canary Island porridge of toasted coarse-ground maize.
- Polenta, an Italian maize porridge.
- Dalia or Daliya, an Indian maize porridge.
- Kachamak, a Turkish maize porridge.
- Mămăligă, a Romanian maize porridge.
- Champurrado, or 'atole de chocolate', a Mexican blend of sugar, milk, chocolate, and corn dough or corn flour. A similar Philippine dish, 'champorado', often substitutes the maize with rice.
- Cornmeal mush, a traditional dish in southern and mid-Atlantic US states.
- Uji, an East African thick porridge made most commonly from corn flour mixed with sorghum and many other different ground cereals, with milk or butter and sugar or salt. Ugali, a more solid meal, is also made from maize flour, likewise often mixed with other cereals. These two, under various names, are staple foods over a wide part of the African continent, e.g. pap in South Africa, sadza in Zimbabwe, nshima in Zambia, tuwo or ogi in Nigeria, etc. — though some of these may also be made from sorghum.
- Pease porridge or peasemeal porridge, made from dried peas, is a traditional English and Scottish porridge.
- Rubaboo is made from dried maize and peas with animal fat, and was a staple food of the voyageurs.
- Potato porridge, eaten in Norway, is a thick, almost solid paste made from cooked potatoes mixed with milk and barley.
- Tsampa is a toasted grain flour, usually barley, eaten in Tibet, often mixed with tea and butter.
- Wheat porridge:
- Cream of Wheat or farina.
- Frumenty, a boiled wheat porridge eaten in Roman times, sometimes with fruit or meat added.
- Wheatena, a brand name for a whole-wheat porridge.
- Dalia, a simple porridge made out of cracked wheat, is a common breakfast in Northern India. It is cooked in milk or water and eaten with salt or sugar added.
- Upma, a fried semolina porridge traditional in southern India, flavored with clarified butter, fried onions, toasted mustard seeds, and curry leaves, and often mixed with vegetables and other foods, such as potatoes, fried dried red chilis, fried cauliflower, and toasted peanuts or cashew nuts.
- Mannapuuro, a traditional Finnish dessert made with Semolina.
- Sour cream porridge, a Norwegian porridge of wheat flour in cooked sour cream with a very smooth and slightly runny texture. It is served with sugar, cinnamon, cured meats, or even hardboiled eggs depending on local custom.
- Velvet porridge or butter porridge, a Norwegian dish: a generous amount of white roux is made from wheat flour and butter, adding milk until it can be served as a thick porridge.
- Rice porridge:
- Rizogalo, a Greek traditional rice porridge, made of rice boiled in goat or lamb milk and served sprinkled with cinnamon.
- Cream of Rice, a brand of American rice porridge, boiled in milk or water with sugar or salt.
- Kheer (or Ksheer), a traditional Indian sweet dish, made of rice boiled in milk can have nuts.
- Congee, a common East Asian, Southeast Asian, and South Asian dish of boiled-down rice:
- Chinese congee can be served with a century egg, salted duck egg, pork, cilantro, fried wonton noodles, or you tiao, deep-fried dough strips.
- Indonesian and Malaysian congee, called 'bubur', comes in many regional varieties, such as bubur sumsum, made from rice flour boiled with coconut milk then served with palm sugar sauce; and also bubur manado or tinutuan, a rice porridge mixed with various vegetables and eaten with fried salted fish and chili sauce.
- Japanese congee, called 'kayu', is mixed with salt and green onions.
- Korean congee, called 'juk', can have added seafood, pine nuts, mushrooms, etc.
- Thai congee, called 'kao dom', can have added coriander, preserved duck eggs, fish sauce, sliced chili peppers, pickled mustard greens or salt cabbage preserves, red pepper flakes, etc.
- Vietnamese congee, called 'cháo', can be made with beef or chicken stock and contains fish sauce and ginger. It is often served with scallions, coleslaw, and fried sticks of bread.
- Phillipine congee, called 'lugaw' or 'arroz caldo', contains saffron, ginger, and sometimes meat. Less common ingredients include boiled eggs, pepper, chilies, puto, lumpiang toge, tofu, fish sauce, calamansi sauce, toyo, and spring onions. It is common as a street food.
- Rice pudding, sweetened rice porridges usually made with milk and commonly flavored with butter and baking spices such as cinnamon. In Nordic countries, it is a traditional breakfast for Christmas Eve.
- Buckwheat porridge, made of buckwheat flour in butter or yoghurt is eaten in minority ethnic groups in Russia, with yoghurt more common in the Caucasus. Also, oven grilled buckwheat grains are boiled in milk or in water and sugar is later added in order to make a popular Russian breakfast staple.
- Quinoa porridge.
- Millet porridge:
- Foxtail millet porridge is a staple food in Northern China.
- A porridge made from pearl millet is the staple food in Niger and surrounding regions of the Sahel.
- Oshifima or otjifima, a stiff pearl millet porridge, is the staple food of northern Namibia.
- Middle Eastern millet porridge, often seasoned with cumin and honey.
- Munchiro sayo, a millet porridge eaten by the Ainu, a native people of northern Japan.
- Milium in aqua was a millet porridge made with goat's milk that was eaten in ancient Rome.
- Sorghum porridge:
- Tolegi, a sorghum porridge eaten as a midday meal during the summer in New Guinea.
- Tuwo or ogi, a Nigerian sorghum porridge that may also be made from maize.
- Rye porridge:
- Rugmelsgrød, a traditional dinner of the Danish island Bornholm, made of ryemeal and water.
- Ruispuuro, a traditional Finnish breakfast.
- Flax porridge, often served as part of a mixture with wheat and rye meal. Red River Cereal and Sunny Boy Cereal are common brands in Canada.
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