M S Subbulakshmi’s soulful voice, the aroma of the brewing coffee, the sizzle of the curry leaves and the pitter patter of rain drops! This was the scene, a very long time ago when I had my first bite of Rava Upma. Some memories, like this one, are etched in your heart for ever.
Being a Kashmiri, I had never had Upma before this day. We traditionally use Rava or Sooji to make a sweet dish called halva. And since we are not too much into sweets as well, we usually make halva as a prasad. This was the pre Google age, and the pre globalization age – so I really had no idea what I was eating and what to expect. It took a lot of self restraint to not to ask what the dish was before I had even tasted it. That obviously would have been rude. I was trying my best to show respect towards my friend’s mom, who had lovingly made the breakfast for us. So I braced myself and took the first bite. The crescendo of flavors and the wholesomeness that this dish brought about in my mouth is something I cannot explain; not even if I was a direct descendant of Elizabeth Barrett Browning herself. It was sheer poetry in food form. Wholesome, full of goodness of spice, a nice balance of salty and tangy, light yet filling!
There are possibly a million ways to make Upma and in my own kitchen too, I make many variations of this nourishing dish. What I however ensure is that I don’t put too many ingredients into any variation. Keep it Simple and enjoy the real goodness of a freshly made Upma.
Serves 4 as breakfast
- 1 C Roasted Upma Rava
- 2 1/2 C water
- 1 tsp cooking oil
- 1/4 Tsp black mustrad seeds
- 4- 5 curry leaves, washed and patted dry
- 1 Thai green chilli, chopped
- 1/s tsp finely minced ginger
- 1/2 C finely chopped onion
- 1/2 C Organic sweet corn kernels
- 1tsp urad dal
- 1 tsp channa dal
- Salt to taste
- 2 -3 tsp Cilantro chopped
- 2 Tbs finely grated fresh coconut [optional]
- Lemon wedges
- Take a pan and start heating the water in it. And while it is heating, do the remaining steps.
- In a non stick pan, dry roast the upma rava for a couple of minutes on medium heat.
- Once it is thoroughly heated and roasted; flip the upma rava on to a dry plate.
- In the same pan, heat the oil.
- Add the mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter.
- Add the urad and channa Dals, fry them for a minute or so until they turn reddish in color.
- Add the curry leaves, stir.
- Now add the onions and ginger and green chillies.
- Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, until the onions turn pale.
- Add the corn and use 1/4 C of water from Step 1.
- Cook for about 2 minutes or until corn reaches it done stage.
- Now, put the upma rava back into the pan.
- Stir to mix all the ingredients. Add salt.
- Carefully add the remaining water from step 1 to the upma mix.
- Mix well, stirring until the upma leaves the sides of the pan and is thick and soft.
- Garnish with all three garnish ingredients.
- While eating, squeeze the lemon on top and enjoy with a Chennai Coffee or freshly squeezed pineapple juice.