Friday, January 31, 2014

Mandarin Green Tea Oatmeal with Sesame Seeds (Lucky Lunar New Year!)

Here on Oatgasm, we like to celebrate. From birthdays, to anniversaries, we celebrate everyday, because every day there’s a reason to celebrate. Despite these cultural differences, we still gather on this little collaboration to honor the parallels among us.

We are Italians, Americans, Aussies, Chinese, Germans, and everything in between. We are not a giant mélange of randoms. We are, rather, a tribe of people, who have gathered across sea and land to take refuge in our similarities, our stories, our likes, dislikes, and our food. I have a beautiful sense of pride for being the host of such a lovely gathering of folk, and I only hope that all of you who contribute feel the same, for simply taking part in this daily tribute.

That being said, today marks the first day of the Lunar New Year, China’s rendering of our New Year. As it happens, 2014 is the year of the horse, the year of defined structure and good communication. In this, take some time to relax, correspond, and converse a bit, perhaps over coffee or even a bowl of oatmeal. Create new links, or fortify new ones.  Connect with those around you, whether it be over the internet, in the quiet modesty of a hand-written letter (my personal favorites), through the waves of a simple phone call, or in timeless gathering around the table.

Traditionally, I don’t celebrate the Chinese New Year. There was one year, too long ago, when we lit paper lanterns and stabbed saucy pieces of chicken out of cardboard boxes with the points of our chopsticks, and I’ve had my yearly share of stale fortune cookies promising me eternal youth, riches, and happiness. These celebratory efforts; contrived, shallow, and just as stale as those cellophane-wrapped crescent cookies, have kept me in the dark, rather than enlightening my way into the upcoming year as they’re intended to do.

I’m 100% for whole-spirited communal celebration, but I’m finding that self-celebration is equally as eminent. I speak of quiet commemoration, of observance, and of blissful salute; the kind that warms the soul like no amount of merriment can. Today, we are given the opportunity to partake in both. Enjoy this festive breakfast, which I share to you in the truest form of communication I know: a recipe. Even more so, allow a moment or two for yourself, to honor the bygone past, live in the breathing moment, and look forward to the indefinite future.

In Chinese culture, mandarin oranges are considered as lucky. At their peak of ripeness, they are most abundant during the New Year festivities, making them a symbol for monetary abundance and prosperity. Here, they stand as a citrusy-sweet counterpart to the underlying flavor of green tea.While partaking in ceremony, tea is often offered as a modest reminder of tranquility and the subtle pleasures in everyday life. Green tea, in particular, plays an essential role in the ‘new’ of the New Year. Not only does it revitalize and cleanse your body, but brings clarity and purification to the soul as well. When the tea is steeped overnight, it becomes somewhat pungent and incredibly flavorful, making it the perfect liquid to use in oatmeal. Combined with mandarin, the its’ essence is extended beyond the average cup of tea. Both fruit and liquid are unified as the oatmeal cooks, but truly come together with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. While small, they lend a light, nutty crunch that pulls all of the elements together. Whether served as a meal to bring in the New Year, or a simple breakfast on any given day, this oatmeal will definitely bring a sense of celebration to you day.

Have a lucky Lunar New Year!
  • 2-4 Green Tea bags, more or less depending on desired strength
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of choice or water, to steep tea in
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tbsp. honey, depending on desired sweetness/strength of tea
  • 1 mandarin orange, peeled and segmented
  • about 1 tsp. white sesame seeds
The night before, set the tea bags in a large mug or bowl. Boil the liquid, and pour over the tea bags so they are completely immersed. Leave overnight to steep.

In the morning, discard the bags (do not try to 'squeeze' out more flavor). Bring the tea, oats, and salt to a low simmer on the stove. Let sit for a minute or two as the oats begin to absorb the liquid. When thickened, stir in the honey. 

Once desired consistency is reached, stir in about half of the orange pieces. Transfer to a bowl or dish, top with the rest of the orange, sesame seeds, and a bit more honey if desired. Enjoy.


  1. I love it! I've made a couple of Chinese-esque recipes to celebrate Chinese New Year, but never thought of adding green tea. Great idea!

    1. Thanks! I'd love to hear about some of your own recipes, if you'd ever like to share.

    2. I'd love it if you'd take a look at my recipes! They're on my blog (

    3. Your recipes are so creative! I love it. I'll definitely be stopping by your blog again in the future.

  2. YES! This is the recipe I needed on Friday! I was trying to go themed, too, but instead failed with a tangerine-five spice oatmeal that was lacking in the taste department :( Now this, though, looks perfect. I'll enjoy my lunar new year breakfast again for this one!

    1. I have a bottle of Spicy Szechwan Five Spice in my cupboard that almost made its' way into my breakfast, but after Garam Masala Oatmeal, I figured I'd keep things sweet. I hope that this lives up to your expectations. Enjoy your (second) Lunar New Year!

  3. awesome recipe and oatmeal is my favorite breakfast of all time

    1. I completely agree. Thank you, I hope you enjoy!

  4. Hi Meghan!
    I'm very happy to have a new delicious excuse to leave you a comment. :) I tried this recipe today and I loved it!!

    I only left the tea leaves to steep for about 30 to 40 minutes and the result was tasty, but I just found out that infusing tea for too long can be dangerous, since the leaves release numerous heavy metals into the liquid. "They found that 73% of teas brewed for three minutes and 83% of those brewed for 15 minutes had lead levels well above .5 micrograms (.005 milligrams) per litre. (...) Organic teas that had been brewed more than 15 minutes had particularly elevated levels of lead, the study indicated." (

    So I guess it's best not to let them steep more than the usually recommended 3 or 4 minutes; for a strong taste, I suppose we could just add more tea?

    Anyway, I loved your words, quote, pictures and recipe, and I wanted to thank you again for another marvellous breakfast ;)

    See you soon!

    –Aujourd'hui, j'ai testé

    1. I had no idea about the dangers of over-steeped tea, so I appreciate the information. I'll be sure to keep an eye on my hot libations from now on.

      Thank you, again, for the lovely feature on your blog and your commentary. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed!

  5. Oops... I forgot the url. You can find my post here:
    Have a nice day!

    1. This is such a lovely post. You summed everything up so nicely, and with such detail. Thank you so much!

      Same to you!