When I was little, my favourite cereal came in the form of big clusters of satisfyingly hard, sweetened oats with raisins in. We called it ‘crunchy’. It was made by Jordans. Nowadays crunchy seems to have been replaced by its US cousin, granola; and OK, it has a proper cereal name and not just an adjective, but I nevertheless stand by the fact that granola should be crunchy (in texture) and it should come in clusters. I’m always disappointed by cereals that purport to be granola but are actually nothing more than toasted muesli. I’ve made a few uninspiring batches myself, the problem being, I think, that in order to get enough of a sticking, hardening quality you need to use quite a lot of oil and/or syrup and therefore the less healthy and the closer to a flapjack your breakfast becomes. Well, this recipe produces the perfect (for me) consistency and uses only a bit of oil and OK, quite a lot of maple syrup, but at least it comes from a tree. I like to put it on top of fruit and yoghurt for extra virtuousness.

I first had granola with garam masala in it from a little stall at a farmers’ market in Ireland and I loved it. Not everyone loved it, because we ended up with another pot of it in our house that someone else had relinquished in disgust. That one had lime juice and jaggery and goji berries in it as well; I know, because I kept the tub so I could look at the ingredients list. My version adds in some of the things I most like to put in granola: nutmeg and coconut. If you don’t like them, or anything else, leave them out or substitute for something you do – as long as you keep the ratio of dry to wet roughly the same, you will end up with crunchy.

Indian-spiced granola

Makes about 450g

10og oats
50g barley flakes
50g rye flakes
75g almonds
4 tbsp sunflower seeds
4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
50g dessicated coconut
175ml maple/agave syrup, or a mixture
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
75g chewy banana chips

Preheat the oven to 180c.

Mix all the dried ingredients together (except the dried fruit). Mix the syrup and oil and pour over, stirring well to combine. Tip the whole lot onto an oiled baking tray or two and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until the granola is golden brown. Leave it to cool before breaking it into small chunks and mixing in the banana chips. Store in an airtight container.

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