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Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Perfect Sunday Upma

Sunday cooking has a different feel to it - the fact that our little family gathers together and eats at the dining table ( instead of at their desks at work). Also having the time to plan and make a variety of dishes - usually I dedicate an hour or two every Sunday to putting together something that suits the holiday mood.
Sunday evenings are special too, the family gathers over a steaming mug of coffee ( the authentic South Indian filtered kind) and enjoys some 'palaharam' or snacks before we go out on some evening activity.
So this is the recipe of upma - perfect for Sunday evening 'Tiffin'.

Vegetable Upma ( serves 3)

1 cup upma rava or cream of wheat.
1/2 cup mixed chopped vegetables ( beans, carrots, peas, cauliflower, cabbage)
1/2 of a tomato chopped into small pieces
1/4 of an onion chopped into small pieces
2-3 green chillies minced
1/2 inch piece ginger minced well
a few torn curry leaves
1 tsp chana dal ( Bengal Gram Dal) and 1 tsp urad dal(Split black gram dal)
1 tsp rai ( mustard seeds)
a pinch of hing ( asafoetida)
3 cups of water

parboil the mixed vegetables and set aside
Heat oil, add chana dal and urad dal and after a few seconds add mustard seeds. When the dals turn slightly dark and the mustard seeds begin to splutter, add the chillies and ginger. Stir Fry for a few seconds and then add the curry leaves and onions. When the onions get slightly transluscent, add the mixed veggies and the hing and stir fry for a few seconds till all the flavors meld for a bit. Then add three cups of water and wait for the water to heat up. Add the tomatoes and turmeric and salt to taste and wait again till the water comes to a boil.
The stage is now set to add the rava. Add it gradually with the left hand while stirring simultaneously with the right hand. The process is very similar to making cream of wheat.
You need to achieve the perfect consistency where there are no lumps in the rava.
When the rava and water are mixed in completely and the mixture has thickened,switch off the gas.
Wait for 4-5 minutes till the mixture cools, this will thicken it even further.
Your upma is ready to serve.
I think this dish does not really need an accompaniment, but some people like to serve it with coconut chutney.

The combination of wheat and veggies make it very healthy dish. Upma tastes wonderful when you top it with a spoon of ghee. I even like to add chopped cashews to mine.
Happy holiday all of you ( and ignore the Monday morning blues that are just around the corner).


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