|Simple Upma With Coconut|
Thatha loved upma that was quite soft to the point of being mushy, which we called kali-ma :). When on a visit we would often gleefully anticipate whether we'd get fluffy upma or Thatha's kali-ma!
Typically, the green chiles are cut in circles and most diners usually pick them out and set aside like one would parsley. But too often, I have seen that people unfamiliar with Indian food do not know to pick off chiles or other whole spices and end up chewing on them; so I core and mince chiles and ginger finely so as not to cause an unpleasant suprise for anyone. If a spicy upma is preferred, the chiles may be chopped without coring and/or adding more. Although this upma is good to go without any side dishes like pickles or chutneys, they may be offered if desired. For young children, a sprinkling of sugar on top may be offered.
Sooji or Rava is semolina, Indian cream of wheat. Any type of finely cracked grain can be used including regular cream of wheat making adjustments in the amounts of water needed and cooking times. I love to add more wholegrain where I can and add a little bulgar (#1 grade which is finely cracked). This is a great dish for Vrat (restricted diet or fasting) days as it does not contain the usual onions or garlic which are not included on these occasions.
2 Tbsp oil
½ tsp Brown Mustard seeds
1 Tbsp Chana dal
1 Tbsp Urad dal
1 pinch Asafetida (Hing powder) (optinoal)
1 or 2 green Chile, cored and finely minced
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, finely minced or grated
1 sprig of fresh Curry leaves, finely sliced
1 tsp Salt or to taste
1 tsp Salt or to taste
2 cups Water
3/4 cup Sooji (Rava or Cream of Wheat)
1/4 cup Bulgar
2 Tbsp chopped Cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp toasted Cashew pieces (Optional)
½ cup finely grated Coconut (fresh/frozen) OR 1/4 cup Dried
Heat about 3 cups of water and keep hot.
Heat the oil and ghee in a 2-3 quart pot or an Indian wok (Kadai).
Add mustard seeds, Chana dal and Urad dal when the oil is hot and cover with a lid to keep the mustard seeds from escaping while they pop; lower the heat when the mustard begins to pop.
When the mustard seeds finish popping, add the asafoetida quickly if using along with the ginger, green chili, curry leaves and the salt; cook over medium heat until green chiles soften, about a minute or two.
Pour the cream or wheat/semolina into the pan and cook stirring constantly over medium heat until they are coated with the oil, about 2-3 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, and add 2 cups of the hot water carefully while stirring constantly - hot water may spatter at first when hitting the hot pan. Mix well, cover and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally to keep from sticking or burning. Drizzle a little more of the water as needed for the consistency you'd like.
Stir in the coconut and turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the cilantro leaves and serve hot garnished with the cashews/peanuts. This upma is typically offered on its own with a cup of tea, coffee, or lemonade; feel free to offer your favorite accompaniments.