Sunday, January 8, 2012

Veggie goodness - Uppittu or Upma

What do you do when you don't want to cook an elaborate meal (think a sink full of dishes to wash) but would still like to eat a tasty meal and not compromise on the nutritional value of the food? I make uppittu or upma, one of the easiest recipes but the taste can go from being mediocre to really exotic, delicate depending on how you prepare. My uppittu is generally loaded with vegetables and doesn't need any accompaniments. You can make this for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.
If you have vegetables ready (think frozen veggies for a quick fix), you can whip up Uppittu in under 15 minutes when unannounced guests pop in.

Uppittu Trivia:
  1. In most southern states in India Uppittu & pakoda(savory fritters - vegetables dipped in gram flour and fried in oil) with coffee used to be the standard menu for the traditional 'bride viewing' ceremony when the prospective bride groom would visit the girl's home with his family to see the girl :-). 
  2. Chef Floyd Cardoz who runs the Tabla restuarant in NYC made the humble uppittu scale new heights when he won the Iron chef contest with his upma. 
The ingredients list looks long but you will typically have them in the kitchen, also you can mix & match vegetables per your taste and availability.
What do you need to make uppittu? 
1 cup upma rava
1 medium red onion - chopped small
1 medium tomato - cut into chunks
1/2 cup green beans chopped small
1 carrot - chopped fine (or grate them)
1 cup of shredded cabbage
1 small bell pepper (any color)
1 small potato - chopped small, I used red potato with skin
2 green chilies
handful of cilantro
1 inch long piece of ginger
3 Tblsp fresh/frozen grated coconut
Salt (suggested - 2 Tsp, alter to taste)
2 Tblsp cooking oil
1 Tsp Ghee (clarified butter)
2.5 cups water
1 Tsp mustard seeds
1 Tsp bengal gram dal/kadle bele/Chana dal
1 Tsp black gram dal/uddina bele/Urad dal
4-5 curry leaves
How do you make Uppittu? 
  1.  Dry roast rava in a pan until it turns light golden brown by frequently stirring, alternately spread it in a microwave safe plate and microwave it for 3 minutes taking it out at 1.5 minutes once to give it a stir. 
  2. Bring green chilies, ginger, cilantro, coconut, tomato into a blender and make it into a paste, keep it aside. Use 1/2 cup of water or less for grinding.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and when it splutters add the chana dal, urad dal & curry leaves. Fry for a minute until the dals turn pink.
  4. Add the chopped onion and fry until pink and onion turns soft.
  5. Pour the ground paste from #2 above and fry for a minute or so till it mixes.
  6. Add the chopped vegetables - cabbage, potato, beans, carrots, bell pepper, add salt, mix it once, cover and let it cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
  7. Add the roasted rava to the cooked vegetables, mix it all well.
  8. Now turn the heat to low, pour the remaining water slowly into the pan while you stir the mixture
  9. Add the ghee, cover the pan, let the uppittu cook for  8-10 minutes on medium heat.
  10. When you open the pan, you should see a fragrant, soft lump in the pan and the uppittu is ready to eat. 
  1. You can add/omit any vegetable to the list above, some veggies that don't go well in uppittu are ladies finger(bhindi) for its distinct flavor, pumpkins/squashes since they get mashed very easily. 
  2. I grind the tomato, green chilies, cilantro, ginger & coconut as my daughter doesn't like to get pieces of these while eating uppittu, you can alternatively chop these and fry them along with onion.
  3. You can add a hand full of fresh mint leaves while grinding the paste to make mint flavored uppittu.
  4. Manage your veggies cooking time based on how crunchy or soft you like them. 
  1. Uppittu can be made by adding water to the rava mixture or rava to the boiling water, I prefer the first method to get a lump free, well cooked uppittu.
  2. Keep the water hot on the side so the uppittu cooks faster.
  3. Chop the veggies in same size to cook them uniformly. 


cmalalur said...

:) cool! Never knew it was this easy.. There's a general tendency to hate uppit most of the times.. But i love its simplicity and taste.. It was my standard breakfast at hospital canteen for more than 4 yrs, uppit with sprinkled kara mixture on top and a uddin vada :)

Nagashree said...

@cmalalur - Uppittu with kara mixture sounds good. Actually I had you & N in mind when I was writing this, hopefully it will come in handy for the upcoming 'stay away from home' days.

cmalalur said...

I definately hope so! I had a disastrous uppit experiment in hostel trying to cook it on an electric coil stove! :D it turned out to be a partially charred sticky mass!
Will try this out sometime and let you know!