Wash the oats and soak in 2 cups of water for 4 minutes, then drain for 2 to 3 mins. (Steps 2 through 4 take about the same time, so the oats do not have to be soaked in advance. Depending on the brand or batch, the oats might get soggy sooner, then soak for just 2 to 3 minutes. I also prefer to use half thick rice flakes and half oats for better texture).
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the peanuts and dry roast until they change color slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Let the mustard seeds start to pop, 30 seconds. Add the asafetida and chili, then stir in the onions and cook until translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. After the onions are done, you can add other veggies if using and cook then until al-dente.
Add the salt, turmeric, cayenne, peas, and sugar and mix well. Cook for 1 minute.
Drain the oats well and add to the pan, then stir in the roasted nuts. Mix well. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the oats are tender, but not mushy like oatmeal. Stir to mix and fluff. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Cover and set aside for 2 minutes. Serve warm, garnished with cilantro and a generous drizzle of lemon juice.
For variation: add cooked cubed potatoes after the onions are translucent. Or add other chopped veggies and greens, cover and cook until just about done and continue with the next step. To make this nut-free, omit the nuts.Nutritional values based on one serving