Monday, November 18, 2019

Bread Upma (Toasted Bread With Veggies, Indian Style)

Bread Upma is India's equivalent to the Holiday Bread Casserole - warm toasty cubes or crumbles of bread studded with assorted vegetables flavored with fragrant spices and herbs. Bread Upma could sub for the traditional Holiday Bread Casserole for the holiday meals!

We didn't eat much bread (yeasted kind) while growing up in India. These days though, bread is ubiquitious even in rural areas and little villages. Although it has become quite common as a breakfast toast for a busy morning or a quick tea time toast/sandwich, often we ended up having leftovers as most family members enjoyed other breakfast and teatime treats. So leftover bread morphed into bread upma, a quick savory dish with onions, veggies, spices and herbs. Although a great recipe to use up stale bread, fresh bread may be used to make this absolutely delicious upma.

Sometimes no one wants to eat the end slices of the loaf; those may be collected in the freezer until there is enough to prepare bread upma.

Although some people remove crusts from bread, I don't as crusts are perfectly good food to be wasted; besides we love their chewy texture.

Cornbread (gluten-free) maybe used to prepare Bread Upma.

4 servings


8 slices gluten-free bread, cut into small cubes or coarse crumbs
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon skinless urad dal
6-8 cashews, broken into small bits
1/2-1 fresh hot green chilies, cored and minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1 pinch asafetida
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 stem curry leaves, finely sliced
1 Carrot, grated coarsely
1/2 cup Peas, fresh or frozen
3-4 Tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Optional Additions:
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 cup Corn kernels, fresh or frozen


Toast the bread slices and cut the into small bite sized cubes or pull apart into big coarse crumbles and set aside.

Heat the oil in a kadai or skillet and when oil is hot enough, add cashews mustard, urad dal. Cook for a minute until mustard pops. Keep cooking for a few more seconds, stirring, until cashews turn golden.

Stir in the green chilies, ginger and onion with a pinch of salt. Cook covered until onions soften and begin to color.

Add asafetida, turmeric, and the curry leaves. Add garam masala if using. Cook for a few seconds.

Tip in the carrots and peas and cook until they soften.

Stir in the bread cubes or crumbles; mix well and cook covered over low-medium heat until heated through, about 5 minutes or so. Turn off heat.

Sprinkle the lemon juice and cilantro and mix well. Taste and add a little salt if needed (bread usually has plenty of salt so you may not need much salt if any).

Serve hot with green or cranberry chutney or lemon or mango pickle if you wish.


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