Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Vegetable Upma

It was one of those days when none of us were in a mood to eat a full fledged meal. All I got when I asked what do you want for dinner was "Make something light".

My standard resort on such occasions is poha or sabudana khichdi or idli/dosa - you get the drif! Along the same lines, this time I made vegetable rava upma - a standard breakfast item at weddings and such along with the usual idli/vada/pongal!

It was only very recently that I came to know that in Tamil Nadu, this dish is actually called "khichdi"! The discovery in  itself was an amusing incident involving two of my friends - one from Madras (I still can't think of it as Chennai!), the other from Orissa and ofcourse me! When the latter fed her kids "khichdi", the former was puzzled that it looked more like dal rice with vegetables and there was no sign of rava in it! After much confusion and some arguing, we realized that while two of us called the rice and lentils cooked with vegetables "khichdi" (I think that's what most of the country calls it!) the other one was looking for vegetable rava upma!

As far as my husband and kid are concerned, when I say upma, it means vegetable rava upma. There is no way they are eating a plain upma! Also, one wants any and every vegetable, while the other is allergic to nuts and can't stand the sight of onions and capsicum in his. So, I end up making "customized" upma!

What I mean is that, I cook my vegetables (I used the frozen mix of peas, carrots, beans and corn and added diced potatoes to it) separately in the microwave but saute the onions and capsicum along with the tempering in another pan! You can prepare the tempering and cook all the vegetables directly in the saucepan that you are using to make the upma. I just find it handy and quick to do all these things separately and since its the dishwasher that cleans the dishes, I don't hesitate to use an additional pot/pan!

So, while the rava is being roasted, I boil water in the kettle, cook the veggies in the microwave and simultaneously prepare the tempering mix! Finally, I just add everything in parts, making sure to separate my son's share before adding the tempering. But by all means prepare the tempering, add in the rest of the vegetables, add water, bring it to a boil and mix in the roasted rava - all in the same vessel.

Whichever way you choose to cook it, whatever you choose to serve it with (I did not go to the trouble of making chutney or sambaar, a Lime Ginger pickle was enough to satisfy us!) - this is a simple, fulfilling yet "light" meal!

Preparation & Cooking: 20 minutes          Serves: 2-3


Rava/Sooji/Cream Of Wheat - 1 cup

Green Chillies - 2, chopped fine
Ginger - a small bit, minced
Turmeric/Haldi Powder - ½ teaspoon
Mixed Vegetables - 1 cup (beans, carrots, peas, corn, potatoes)
Potato - 1 small, diced
Capsicum - 1 small, diced
Onion - 1 small, choped fine
Curry Leaves -  a few
Salt - to taste
Ghee - 1 tablespoon
Water - 3 cups
For Tempering: 
Ghee/Clarified Butter - 1 tablespoon
Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon 
Urad Dal/Black Gram Dal - 1 teaspoon
Jeera/Cumin Seeds -  ½ teaspoon
Chana Dal/Bengal Gram Dal -  ½ teaspoon
Cashews - 10-12, broken

  1. Microwave the vegetables for 5-7 minutes, till they are cooked.
  2. Bring about 3 cups of water to a boil in a kettle or another vessel - this hastens the cooking process as we don't have to wait for the bottle to boil when we add it to the rava.
  3. Heat the remaining ghee for tempering, add in mustard, jeera, urad dal and chana dal. When the mustard and cumin seeds splutter and the dals turn a golden brown, add in the curry leaves and cashews. 
  4. When the cashews get a reddish tinge, add the onions. When the onions turn transluscent add the green chillies, ginger and capsicum and saute for a couple of minutes, then take off the flame.
  5. Roast the rava with 1 tablespoon of ghee till it turns a reddish tinge and gives off a nice aroma.
  6. Now, slowly pour in the hot water, stirring constantly so it doesn't form lumps.
  7. Continue to stir and cook till the rava reaches a smooth consistent texture and has absorbed most of the water.
  8. Now add the turmeric, salt, mixed vegetables and the prepared tempering.
  9. Mix everything well and cook for another minute.

Serve hot with chutney/sambaar or plain old pickle - yummy!


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