Safe and simple Upma

Mallika Basu - Safe and simple Upma

Posted 19th May 2008

I shuffled to the kitchen on Sunday night to make a hot bedtime drink. Before I could say “Rooibos tea”, the kettle caught fire ejecting angry sparks everywhere.

I fled from the kitchen screaming “fire, fire” in my best damsel in distress act only to find hubby asleep on the couch mid-way through American Idol.

The next day, I wasn’t in the mood for any incidents. I decided to cook a simple Upma, savoury semolina dish called Upma. Sheer simplicity, this is a typical South Indian breakfast that I ate in the morning, as light lunch and a tea time snack in India.

All it needs is small number of ingredients, a bag of semolina and one non-stick frying pan. What could possibly go wrong?

I started dry roasting the course semolina on the frying pan. It was going brown beautifully, with a gorgeous aroma filling my kitchen. And then I saw little black bits appear. And then, even more.

I’d scraped the non stick coating off!

Luckily for me this Upma takes about 20 minutes to make. I started again from scratch (excuse the pun) and the result was light, yummy and incident free. Just as it should be. Serve this with spicy mixed pickle or as an interesting alternative to cous cous with a tagine.

Feeds 2:

200 gm coarse semolina

Half inch ginger grated fine

1 small onion, chopped fine

Half tsp turmeric powder

2 dry whole red chillies

10-15 curry leaves

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp channa dal

2 cups of hot water

1.5 tbsp sunflower oil

Salt to taste

Bring a robust frying pan to heat on a high flame with the semolina. Keep shifting and stirring the semolina around until it goes warm golden evenly. This takes a good 5-7 minutes.

Tip the semolina out of the pan into a serving bowl. Put the pan back on the cooker with the oil and heat over a high flame.

When hot, throw in the mustard seeds, curry leaves and whole red chillies. As they start sizzling, mix in the onion, ginger, turmeric and channa dal. Fry for about two minutes until the onions brown.

Now stir the semolina back in with some salt, add hot water bit by bit until the semolina doubles up into a moist but grainy texture. Serve immediately.

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