Saturday, May 29, 2010

Upma

This classic South Indian dish made from cream of wheat is one of my all-time favorites. Upma is one of the first Indian dishes I learned how to make. I was 12 years old the first time I made upma. I liked it so much that when my mom was out of town, I called her up and asked her to give me directions over the phone as to how to make it. I found it very simple, and it came out great. Even today, I love to eat upma anytime. It makes for a hearty, satisfying one-dish meal, perfect for breakfast or lunch, maybe with a chutney to go along with it, like I served it with peanut chutney, or just some plain, homemade yogurt. I have adapted the recipe for upma to incorporate the soaking method, with great results.

Upma:
1 cup cream of wheat(rava)
2 cups water, warm
2 tbsp. yogurt
3-4 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. urad dal
1 tsp. asafoetida(hing)
2 green chilli peppers, chopped(or more depending on your heat preference)
1 large sprig curry leaves
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3/4 cup frozen peas or edammames
3/4 cup cauliflower, chopped
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
1.5 tsp. ghee

Combine cream of wheat, warm water and yogurt in a large bowl. Cover the bowl and let the mixture sit for 18-24 hours on the countertop. Heat oil in a large pan on high heat. Add the mustard seeds, and let them begin to pop. Then, lower the heat, add the cumin seeds, and let them brown. Then, add the urad dal and let it turn slightly reddish, but not brown. Afterwards, add the hing, green chilli peppers and curry leaves and mix. Add the onion, and cook on medium heat until it becomes transluscent. Add the chopped carrot and cauliflower, cover the pot, and let them become tender. Add the peas or edammames and stir. Next, add the salt. Add the rava-water mixture,and mix well. Cover the pot, and let the mixture cook for about five minutes on medium heat. Finally, mix in the ghee, and serve warm.



Peanut Chutney:
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
Tempering:
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. hing
1 dry red chilli pepper
1 sprig curry leaves

Grind peanuts, yogurt, cumin seeds, cayenne pepper and salt together. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to splatter, lower the heat and add hing. Add the curry leaves and swirl. Finally, add the dry red chilli pepper and turn off the heat. Add the hot tempering into the peanut-yogurt mixture and mix well.



I spent quite a bit of time thinking how I could incorporate soaking into the recipe. Well, this method worked perfectly. The upma had a wonderful taste and texture, extremely moist, just the way I like it.

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