Nutritious, sweet, and with touches of fruit. That is granola, depending on the creativity and taste of those who make it. In Cusco it is a suggested companion for those moments when you fight hunger. It is perfect for outings to the countryside, since it is light, nutritious, and easily digested. You can find it in out supermarkets, stores, and in a few carts within the city.
Throughout the imperial city you find granola at comfortable prices. Those who produce it price it according to the quantity. You also find it made into bars the size of a turron. They are made with quinoa, wheat, kañiwa and other grains and seeds from our region, and are bathed in honey and carob syrup (algarrobina). Of course the price goes up if it has walnuts, raisin,pecans, or dehydrated fruit. All of these dance within the mixture of a granola. The granola bars can be found from 1 sol to bags that are 5 soles of more, according to size.
Granola is seen and talked about so much that I wondered how it is made at home. So, I started talking with people to ask them how they did it and to get an easy and simple recipe. Some people get inspired by the honey, the raisins, or the fruit, the sweets, but I was looking for something more healthy.
I remembered the words of my friend David from the United States. He said that making your own granola is healthier and has fewer calories. Others do not have enough. That is why I wondered how to make granola. You could put a bit less sugar than the commercial granola, add more fruit, or honey, give it just that special touch that only you can do when you prepare it.
David said that he liked the granola he made. I asked him how he did it.
“It is very easy,” he said. “You take three cups of rolled oats, not the instant ones but the regular ones, a quarter cup of vegetable oil, a quarter cup of honey. You mix the honey and oil together, along with a splash of soy sauce (sillao) and combine it with the oats using your hands, until the mixture is uniform. Then you put it in a slow oven for about an hour, turning the mixture every fifteen minutes. When it is ready, it looks crunchy and toasted. Then you add the fruits, the raisins, coconut (if you wish). What you put in depends on your taste and wishes. Having this granola with a cup of milk is delicious.”
I asked him how he learned this recipe. David said “many people were eating granola and I was starting to have problems from pre-diabetes. I was a bit plump. I wanted to eat fewer carbohydrates. For a long time I had wanted to change the breakfast cereal I ate as an American. I wanted something more natural, without so much sugar. I knew that people were making their own granola. In the stores it is expensive and has much sugar and fat. So I started looking on line. Most recipes did not enthuse me. Then I found one by Alton Brown, a television food personality. I made his and liked it and started tweaking it, especially by reducing the additional sugar. I have been making this for years now.”
In the morning, for breakfast, granola is wonderful for young and old. You can eat it with juice, milk, yogurt, or however you wish. This mixture was originally create by the US medical doctor, James Caleb Jackson, who named it “granula” in 1863.