We first sampled Bircher Muesli a couple of years ago at Hong Kong Sky City, Marriott. Vacationing at Hong Kong, we were tucking into the amazing breakfast spread (which is a lot to say for vegetarians.) My interest was sparked at the sight of very cute jars of muesli sitting on a bed of crushed ice. I enjoy hot muesli by pouring steaming skim milk over muesli, but this? On crushed ice? After confirming with the wait staff that it had all vegetarian ingredients (you never know, after all, even congee there has bacon in it) we tentatively sampled one jar, and boy, fell in love with it. My son declared, “Mom, we have been wasting life by not having this wonderful breakfast dish”.
I researched into it’s origin, and discovered that Bircher muesli was first developed by a Swiss doctor, Dr. Bircher – Brenner. First used for patients, the recipe has become hugely popular in Switzerland and Germany. It is traditionally made by soaking rolled oats in yoghurt/curd along with grated apple, apple juice and left overnight in the fridge. The next morning, it is enjoyed for breakfast along with choice of toppings such as roasted nuts, or more fresh fruit. With it’s easy make-ahead prep, versatile choice of toppings, and deliciousness in every spoonful, it’s not difficult to love Bircher Muesli.
But wait, what’s a recipe without customisation? I am a big fan of eating local, buying seasonal. So the muesli had to be localised and include seasonal fruit too. The apple had to give way to mango, the fruit of the season.The Bircher muesli became muesli parfait. Another ingredient, popped amaranth just begged to go in too. Some easily available dry fruits and nuts completed the meal-in-a-jar. Local ingredients, global flavours!
So I set about soaking oats in skim milk yoghurt. I also soaked some pitted dates and raisins in honey in a separate bowl and left them to rest in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I chopped up some mangoes, toasted a few almonds and walnuts. Now I was ready to assemble. The layering of the ‘breakfast-parfait’ began with a few spoons of the soaked oats. On this, I piled some chopped mangoes, then came the turn of another star ingredient, popped amaranth. A few drizzles of honey and then the turn of the oats again. The soaked dates+raisins went in next followed by some more chopped mangoes and popped amaranth. The parfait was finished off with nuts and another drizzle of honey. There, so simple. It took 5 minutes to assemble two servings. A most delicious, filling, uber healthy breakfast ready. Needless to say it was demolished as quickly as it was assembled.
While you can play around with ingredients and serving size, I am giving the ingredients and measures I followed. Feel free to play around the main theme and come up with a combination that your family loves.
Preparation time –15 minutes+8 hours soaking time, Cooking Time –3 minutes, Serves – 2
- Does NOT contain egg, soya, peanuts, corn, milk.
- Contains yoghurt, some gluten from oats.
Cookware –2 mixing bowls, chopping board, knife, small saucepan,300-400 ml jars to assemble the meal.
- Quick cooking oats – 4 tbsp
- Skim milk yoghurt – 400 ml ( 2 cups)
- Skinned and chopped mango – 1/2 cup
- Popped amaranth – 3-4 tbsp
- Dates – 6-8
- Golden raisins – 12
- Almonds – 6
- Walnuts – 2
- Honey – 2 tbsp+2 tsp
- Mix the measured oats into the yoghurt, stir in well, cover and rest in refrigerator overnight. Also place the pitted dates and raisins with 2 tbsp honey in a small bowl, cover and store in refrigerator.
- I popped the amaranth at home from amaranth seeds. To pop, you add amaranth seeds to a super hot wok, a tsp at a time, stir gently and watch them seeds merrily popping and dancing in front of your eyes! You could use store bought popped amaranth or omit it entirely too. Or attempt popping at home if you get hold of amaranth seeds.
- Chop the mangoes and almonds, keep aside.
- Take the serving bowls, or jar or tall glass to assemble the parfait. Rinse well and wipe dry.
- Layer the soaked oats at the bottom, 2 tsp should suffice. Place the chopped fruit on the oats. Next, add the popped amaranth, about 1 tbsp would do. Place the soaked and plump dates+raisins mixture over this and cover again with a couple of tsp of soaked oats. A drizzle of honey, then fruit, popped amaranth and finally topped with toasted nuts follow. Finish off with a good drizzle of honey.
- Enjoy for breakfast, or assemble in ajar with screw top lid, and carry to work. Ideal for mid-morning or 4 p.m. hunger pangs.