A prosy Upma

I’ve been having a wonderful few days. Not very lazy, but filled with meanderings, blue and silver water, swooping seagulls, orange skies and food! And all so close to home! I have been learning to enjoy the space I live in, finding new spots to love.

Of course, I didn’t have internet access at home yesterday and so couldn’t make use of any stolen moments to post the third recipe in the countdown. But in the spirit of ferreting out things to love, here is a South Indian breakfast dish that is not often given the love it deserves. This is hardly ever any child’s favorite breakfast, but now that it is no longer the commonest of breakfasts for us,  S and I have grown to love it. My version is a porridgey khara bhaath meets Upma kind of dish.

Day 4: Upma

You will need:

2 sticks of cinammon

2 cloves

1 star anise

2 tsps mustard seeds

1 tsp skinned urad dal (white)

2 C pre-roasted rava (cream of wheat/farina)

1 red chilli

a pinch turmeric

a pinch of asafoetida/hing

1/2 tsp jeera powder

1/2 tsp corriander poder

1-2 tbsp garam masala (try to use either home-made garam masala or organic masala- because they are tastier. But any brand would work)

1 medium onion chopped/minced

1 tomato chopped coarsely

1 tbsp oil (I use extra light tasting olive oil)

salt to taste


Heat the oil. Once hot add the cinammon, clove and star anise.

Drop in the mustard seeds. Once the seeds are spluttering noisily, add the urad dal and red chilli.

Once the urad dal is brown (but not burnt) and the mustard seeds are almost done spluttering, add the onions.

Saute the onions, till they are soft and transparent.

Add the rava and let it roast for 2-3 mins (longer- around 5-8 minutes- if you are using the un-roasted variety).

Next, add the turmeric powder, hing, jeera powder, corriander powder and the garam masala. Then, the chopped tomato and let the mixture cook for another 5 minutes.

Pour 5-6 cups of water and cook till the water has been almost absorbed.

At this point, season with salt and the add 1-2 cups of water.

Cook till the water is absorbed and the upma reaches the desired consistency. I like it porridge-like, but if you like the upma drier, cook it for longer.

Verdict: We ate this upma with the day-old butternut squash sambhar and it made for a simple, yet, satisfying meal.

And we still wonder how this could have ever been the bane of our existence.


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