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Sunday, September 19, 2010


Upma is a South Indian breakfast dish. It is usually made with refined wheat grains, which Indians generally call sooji and is also known in the south of India as rava. A variety of upmas can be made with either vermicelli and thick, brown wheat grains. Upma is easy to prepare. For taste, vegetables may be added. Upma may also be garnished with a variety of beans (raw or sprouted), cashew and peanuts.

Rava/sooji is often translated as Semolina in cook books and by various authors on the Internet. While this is not wrong, it is not entirely accurate either. Semolina is most commonly made from Durum wheat, which is thicker and yellow in color with a higher protein and gluten content than Rava[citation needed]. Rava on the other hand is specifically semolina made from soft wheat also known by the trade name of Cream of wheat or farina (food), which is a softer white cereal.

You can make the same recipe by substituting cream of wheat with Couscous

This recipe makes 6 servings.


2 cups cream of wheat
25 gms fried Cashew Nuts (optional)
1 inch Ginger chopped
1/4 cup Green Peas frozen or fresh
1 tsp Urad Daal (optional)
1 tsp Channa Daal (optional)
Few curry leaves (optional)
1 potato
One onion
Two hot chili peppers
½ cup of yogurt
1 cup of pureed fresh tomatoes
3 table spoon of vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon of asafetida
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
½ teaspoon of cumin seeds
¾ teaspoon of turmeric powder
¾ teaspoon of garam masala (optional) I did not add this time.
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder (or to taste)
2 cups of hot water
3 teaspoon of salt
1 lime
¼ cup of chopped fresh cilantro leaves

This recipe makes 6 servings

• Chop potatoes to small cubes.

• Finely chop onions, ginger and chili pepper.

• In a pan heat oil, when oil is hot add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. When they start to crackle, add asafetida, urad and chana dals when dals become light brown, add curry leaves.

• Then add onion, ginger, potatoes and chilies.

• Saute on medium heat till soft and light brown.

• While onions and potatoes are cooking, heat another pan on another burner and add cream of wheat to the pan.

• Roast the cream of wheat by constant stirring on medium-high heat x 5 min.

• When cream of wheat grains are crunchy and light brown and start emitting sweet flavor turn off the stove.

• Add this cream of wheat to onion/potatoes and add salt, turmeric powder and cayenne pepper to this. May also add ¾ to 1 teaspoon of garam masala if desired.

• Toss everything together while pan in on stove on medium heat.

• Add tomatoes puree, yogurt and hot water.

• Keep mixing it and stirring it on medium to high heat on stove.
• Then transfer the content to microwave safe serving dish.

• Add lime juice from one lime.

• Cook in microwave for 3 min, with occasional mixing and tossing the content.

• Take it out of microwave and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

Serve this with home made buttermilk sprinkled with roasted cumin seeds.

Homemade buttermilk:
Whisk/blend following ingredients with hand held blender at high speed:
1 cup of homemade yogurt
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of roasted cumin seeds.

Recipe source: My dearest mom Mrs. Kasturben
Photographs by Surekha

Source for Description of Upama:

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