Two Types of Upma… Twice as Nice!

Rava Upma

Semiya Upma

Upma (uppama, uppittu) is another Indian dish that is highly amenable to experimentation in the kitchen.  Traditional upma is made with semolina (cream of wheat, rava, soji), but can also be made with semolina vermicelli (semiya, seviyan), rice vermicelli (sevai), poha (flattened rice, aval), cous cous, quinoa… well, with just about anything as a base.  I’m giving you the basic recipes for traditional rava upma and semiya upma.

 

Rava Upma

Ingredients

1 cup rava (cream of wheat)

1 tsp canola or other vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp channa dhal

Handful of cashews, halved

2 to 4 green chillies, slit lengthwise

5 or 6 curry leaves

2 to 3 cups water

2/3 cup frozen peas

Salt to taste

1 tsp ghee (optional)

2 tbsp cilantro, chopped (optional)

 

Directions

1.  In a deep frying pan or saucepan, dry roast the rava on low heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.  When the color just begins to change and there is a slightly nutty aroma, remove from heat, pour into a bowl and set aside.

2.  In the same pan, heat the oil on a medium high flame until hot.  Add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds start popping, add the channa dhal.  When the channa dhal just starts to brown, add the cashews.  Saute until the cashews begin to brown.  Add the green chillies and curry leaves and saute a few seconds.  Add two cups water, frozen peas and salt to taste, and bring to a boil.

3.  Once the water has boiled lower the heat.  Slowly add the roasted rava, stirring continuously to keep lumps from forming.  Continue heating on a very low flame, covered, until the water is absorbed.  If the upma looks dry, add water as needed.

4.  Add a tsp of ghee and/or garnish with cilantro, if desired.  Serve hot as is or with chutney.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Note:  Some cooks prefer to skip the first step of roasting the rava.  This imparts a slightly different flavor and color to the dish.

 

Semiya Upma

Ingredients

1 tsp canola or other vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp channa dhal

Handful of cashews, halved

1 cup semiya (semolina vermicelli)

2 to 4 green chillies, slit lengthwise

5 or 6 curry leaves

1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup diced carrots, cooked

1/2 cup frozen peas

Salt to taste

1 tsp ghee (optional)

2 tbsp cilantro, chopped (optional)

 

Directions

1.  In deep frying pan or saucepan, heat the oil on a medium high flame until hot.  Add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds start popping, add the channa dhal.  When the channa dhal just starts to brown, add the cashews and the semiya.  Saute until the cashews and semiya begin to brown.  Add the green chillies and curry leaves and saute a few more seconds.  Add 1 1/2 cups water, carrots, frozen peas and salt to taste, and bring to a boil.

2.  Once the water has boiled, lower the heat.  Continue heating on a very low flame, covered, until the water is absorbed.  If the upma looks dry, add water as needed.

3.  Add a tsp of ghee and/or garnish with cilantro, if desired.  Serve hot as is or with chutney.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Note that the only real difference in making these two dishes is the time when the base (rava or semiya) is added.  Experiment with different bases and vegetables and levels of spiciness for more varied flavors.  The next time I make sevai (rice vermicelli), I’ll post recipes for plain sevai, lemon sevai and the side dishes.  Enjoy!

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