Although it’s origin is in southern India, Upma is a widely eaten breakfast dish across the country. Upma is among those few things which I can eat repeatedly without getting bored. On a hectic weekday as a quick fix meal or on a relaxing time over family breakfast on a weekend. The mild fragrance made of roasting semolina with ghee is something I consider almost heavenly. Don’t worry, the amount of ghee(clarified butter) used is very less and upma is a perfectly healthy thing to eat and it comes with a lot of goodness of vegetables and semolina. In fact I don’t buy the fact that ghee is bad for our health; of course when used in a controlled amount. This short chain fatty acid has innumerable medicinal values. It’s our sedentary lifestyle which is a bigger cause of our health issues.
Semolina : 1&1/2 cup
Oil : 3-4 teaspoon
Mustard seeds : 2 teaspoon
Urad dal(black split grams without skin) : 1 tablespoonful
Finely chopped veggies : I used one baby potato, one medium onion, one small portion of cabbage, 3-4 baby carrots
Roasted peanuts(skin removed) : 10-15
Ghee(clarified butter) : 2 teaspoons
Cilantro or parsley : 1/2 cup finely chopped
Tomato paste : 1 tablespoon (optional, you can totally avoid tomatoes or can add it in finely chopped form, or you can add curd as a substitute to give a bit of sourness to taste)
Green chili’s : spicy Thai ones 1 or 2 very finely chopped
Ginger : 1 square inch piece grated (optional)
Water : 2 – 2 & 1/2 cups.
- Start with roasting semolina. For that heat a non stick pan on medium heat.
- Add one teaspoon of oil and semolina and roast it with continuous stirring. Continuous movement is necessary to ensure that all the grains are roasted uniformly. Roast till there is a very small darkening of color of semolina. You will experience an increased aroma due to roasting. Stop at this point and transfer the roasted semolina to a bowl/plate. Ensure all of it is transferred as we are going to continue cooking in same pan.
- Now heat the remaining oil in the pan on medium heat, add mustard seeds. Once they sputter add urad dal. Let them fry till light brown in color. Now add onions to cook till translucent. Add potatoes, ginger, chili, a pinch of salt. Cover and let the potatoes cook for 1-2 mins. (Make sure they are very thinly sliced and cook quickly).
- Now add all the pending veggies, tomato paste, roasted peanuts, salt sufficient for vegetables. Saute them for about 1-2 mins. When the veggies become slightly tender, add about one and half cups of water. Let the water boil, add the balance salt for semolina at this stage.
- Once water starts to simmer, add semolina small portion at a time, mixing at every stage. Make sure there are no lumps. You can add some more water if required but make sure it does not become lumpy.
- Now turn the heat on low and cover the pan to cook the upma for 2-3 minutes. Intermittently keep mixing with a wooden spatula, otherwise the portion sticking at bottom will start burning.
- At the end add 2 teaspoons of ghee over upma and mix well. Also add cilantro and parsley and mix well.
- Serve hot with curd/sambhar/chutney or as such.
If you want, you can make the tadka in ghee instead of oil. But adding a small quantity of ghee at the end tastes almost same as that and also reduces the amount of fat that is added to the meal. Hence makes it light to eat.