Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Upma with vegetables( aka Baath)( Cream of wheat cooked with vegetables)

I think UPMA is one of the least liked breakfast items. It generally bland, tasteless and looks like a lump of cooked cream of wheat.. Right??

WRONG! Upma when made properly turns out delicious! It is all in how you make it. There is a very thin line between success and failure of UPMA. It has to be roasted to the right amount, there has to be the right amount to ghee( clarified butter) and the right amount of water. It should not be too dry or too runny. You know it is good when it easily and nicely leaves the pan when sautéing.

There are several ways of making upma. You could make it just with a tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves, urad dal, Chana dal and green chillies. In the end it is garnished with freshly grated coconut.This is usually the least liked version. Others add chopped onions to the above tempering which according to me makes it a little more tastier. Then others add chopped tomatoes in addition to the onions. Me, I add vegetables too and some nuts. This not only makes it tastier, it makes it healthier too.. My version is also called as Baath or Vegetable Baath and is commonly served for breakfast at Mangalorean GSB weddings and brahmopodesham( thread ceremony).

Servings: 4


Sooji ( wheat semolina) : 1 cup
Peas and carrots: 1 cup, cooked.
Ghee( clarified butter): 2 tbsp
Cooking oil: 2tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Urad dal: 1/2 tsp
Chana dal: 1/2 tsp
Cashew halves:1 tbsp( optional)
Onion: 1 medium, diced small
Green chillies: 2, slit lengthwise
Ginger-garlic paste: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder(haldi): 1/4 tsp
Garam masala powder: 1/8 tsp
Sugar: 1/4 tsp
Cilantro leaves: 1 tbsp( for garnishing)
Salt: to taste
Water: 2 cups


Boil 2 cups water in a saucepan/ kettle.

Heat oil and ghee in a kadai/wok/sauté pan. Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the urad dal, chana dal and cashew halves. Sauté for few seconds. 

Add the split green chillies, curry leaves, ginger-garlic paste and chopped onions. Sauté until onions turn transparent.Add the turmeric powder and sauté for 5 seconds.

Add the tomatoes and saute until it wilts slightly.

Now add the sooji and saute for 3-4 mins on low until the sooji looks a little blossomed(bigger). You know it's done when you can appreciate the individual grains of semolina. 

Now add the cooked peas and carrots, salt, sugar, garam masala and 2 cups hot water. Add the water little by little, mixing well in between.

 Cover and cook on very low flame for 3-4 mins, stirring in between. You know the upma is done when it easily leaves the pan upon stirring.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot with some mixture, yogurt, chips or by itself.


Cooking made easy:

Always cook this dish on medium-to-low flame.

Traditionally only ghee is used to make this dish.  I used a combination of oil and ghee so that it is a little more healthier. If too little ghee/oil is used, this dish turns out too dry.

Tip for healthy living:

Regular exercise plays a great role in keeping your body healthy. Try to move all your joints through it's range at least once a day. This will keep your joints flexible. Try to get in at least 45-60minutes of aerobic activity everyday. This keeps your cardiovascular system healthy. Examples of aerobic activity are walking, biking, swimming and jogging.