08 June 2015

Bangkok Breakfast (and the story of how I became a morning person!)

It’s soon coming up on 20 months since I made the biggest transition in my life thus far…becoming a mother! Though having an active toddler presents many challenges, I’m absolutely loving this phase of Rohan’s growth and development! I adore watching him run, play, swim, dance, sing and “talk”! He’s like a total sponge right now, learning new words and making new discoveries every day. And motherhood is, like everyone says, a perpetual learning experience. Just when you think you’ve mastered something – breastfeeding, baby wearing, packing for a weekend away, solid feeding, going back to work – there’s something entirely new to learn. Of course, there have been many ups and a few downs too. Though it may sound a bit silly, I think the toughest part of new motherhood for me was having to becoming a morning person. I’ve always been a night owl, despite the incongruity between that and being a working professional. I guess I was just built that way, loving to stay up late. So during those initial months, I really struggled with the early morning wake-ups that are part of life with a young child. 

But then a little over 7 months into the journey, a couple of major turning points occurred. For starters, Rohan started sleeping through the night! He had always been a pretty good night sleeper, generally only waking once to nurse (naps were a different story during those initial months  – he was a classic cat napper!). But he went through a rough patch at 4 and then at 6 months, waking up several times each night. Nursing was the most efficient way to get him back to sleep, but it meant that I was a total zombie at work the next day! So after much research, we decided to give the Ferber method a go soon after he turned 7 months, and lo and behold after just one night, he started sleeping through! Now that was a total game changer! But for the next couple of months after that, he was still waking up pretty darn early most of the time (at least by my standards - somewhere between 5 and 6am…ugh!). On weekend mornings, I would strap him into the carrier and head off to our neighborhood Starbucks or some similar place, in desperate need of some caffeine, a blast of fresh air and the sight of other moving, functioning human beings in order to convince my body to fully wake up. I was never such a big coffee fiend or anything until moving to Paris, where starting the workday over a café crème with a colleague was a social ritual. Motherhood, though, changed things…I NEEDED that morning jolt now!

Then came turning point #2…Luis suggesting that we invest in an A-grade coffee maker. I was a bit skeptical at first. Was it really worth the investment? Couldn’t I just keep going to Starbucks? How would the coffee compare? Was it going to be a pain in the butt to figure out how to use the machine? Well...once that baby Breville arrived and I made a couple of practice lattes under Luis's close supervision, I was convinced! From then on, waking up early became that much easier. And the Starbucks visits gradually dwindled off! 

Rohan no longer wakes up so early anymore (now it’s more in the neighborhood of 7:30 or sometimes even 8, which now seems pretty luxurious!). But I still love starting my day with a hot (or sometimes iced) latte from our wonderful machine, often made by our little man himself. Like most toddlers, he adores pushing buttons and knows exactly how to work this particular machine...he’s totally a future barista in the making! He also loves having his own portion of “baby coffee”, which is what we call the extra milk froth that we feed him with a spoon. Starting the day with this little ritual has made it much easier for me to enjoy the mornings. 

The other MUST DO now is a proper breakfast. With the exception of weekend brunches which I always loved to prepare, I was never big on the morning meal. I guess it went hand-in-hand with my disdain for mornings. More often than not, I would just skip breakfast, running like mad to get to classes or work on time and then get going with just a coffee. Now that mornings are a real part of my life, I find that having something yummy and healthy to eat is a real enticement to get up and about (Rohan’s megawatt smiles and giggles are even more so!). I’m particularly fond of make-ahead breakfasts like a jar of overnight oats or a slice of quiche, as I love waking up with the knowledge that breakfast is already waiting for me. But lately, I also really love a bowl of warm oatmeal or other porridge-like dishes. It may sound a bit odd for a tropical climate like ours here in Thailand, but it’s comforting, filling and nutritious!

This weekend, I gave my oatmeal a Bangkok touch by cooking it in coconut water and coconut milk. A pureed or mashed up banana adds natural sweetness (and extra nutrition), meaning that you can forego sugar, honey or any other sweetener. And when you live in a place like Bangkok, how can you resist topping your bowl with some luscious, seasonal, tropical fruit?  Mango season is unfortunately ending here, but lychees and mangosteen are popping up in all the markets, while we’re also enjoying weekly delivery of passion fruit and other organic produce from Adams Organic (highly recommended for Bangkok residents looking for organic fruit and veg). Cook up a bowl of this oatmeal tomorrow and be transported to Bangkok, whether you’re a morning person, a night owl, a new parent or otherwise!

Serves 2

1 cup old fashioned (rolled) oats
1 cup coconut water
1 cup coconut milk (reduced-fat if you can find it) or other milk of your choice
2 small bananas or 1 large banana, mashed up well with a fork or pureed in a food processor
Chopped tropical fruit  – e.g. mango, papaya, pineapple, dragon fruit, passion fruit, coconut
Toppings of your choice – e.g. wheat germ, ground flax, Chia seeds, chopped cashews or other nuts

1. Put the first four ingredients (oats to banana) in a small saucepan and stir well.

2. Cook over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Serve either warm or at room temperature, topped with fruits and toppings of your choice.

P.S. Rohan tried some of this oatmeal and gave it his seal of approval as well! And he also helped me to style these photos ;-)


  1. Oatmeal was once one of the Gladiator's super foods! Today as many of us live under stressful conditions, we still need super and healthy food even if we're not Gladiators. This is a very good idea to prepare oatmeal, conveniently it adds some extras goodies like fruits providing extra taste, as well as more vitamins.
    It's a delicious win win!
    Beautiful picture.

  2. Thank you, amorzinho! You're totally right, oatmeal is a superfood, we should eat it much more often.

  3. Wow, Ramya, you made an exotic, gourmet dish out of regular ole' oatmeal! Looks beautiful; with goodness on the inside to match.