Mar 8, 2010

Upma- a tangy twist to your leisurely mornings

Okay...I am not sure that travel is my thing. I mean definitely not the flying and the horrible horrible jet lag. Guess that is inevitable if you are flying diametrically across the globe. So much so that the departure city and the arrival city are farthest that can be achieved on this earth. Tis true. Well almost :) But everything else-wise, particularly food wise, it sure is the best thing to happen to me. In fact I found out something real cool about myself this time around. If I eat only veggies and lean protein (psstt..only fish) while on long travels, I actually manage to lose weight. Guess, traveling does not require me to gorge on a lot of energy inducing carbs and fats :) So here I am. Back. With a ton of fantastic recipes to try out, great stories that go with it and mostly has a refreshing but flavorful twist to it. 

I did mention that I am jet lagged. Right? What that translates into is, waking up at 3 am and feeling sleepy by 11 AM. What that also means is I get hungry at 7 and very ready to make more than cereals and fruits. And given that my head is full of fresh ideas and recipes my kitchen is waking up very early these days and smelling great too. Actually, just over the weekend. So I am gonna tell you about a dish which makes for a wonderful brunch or weekend breakfast. But guys..if you are jet lagged, and are craving good food..this is your's. Weekends or not :)

But before I give you this gorgeous dish, a point or two. Ever heard of semolina? You might have skipped over it in the pasta aisle. But it is there. Hopefully. If not, no big deal. It is made of the exact same stuff as pasta and couscous. It is carb rich. God, we do need energy. Especially to get our working habits into gear. And it is just like pasta. Very versatile. You can do literally whatever with it. People in southern part of India use it like Pasta. To make it in a zillion different ways. But mostly for breakfast. It is one of the healthiest, most authentic-- and I would even say most versatile-- Indian breakfast that you can possibly get. It is basically couscous made with yoghurt and veggies and some herbs. How cool does that sound?

So here it is-- a tangy breakfast for the experimental foodie, right from the heart of the country, we lovingly call, 'the land of spices'. Upma


Half a cup of semolina. You can substitute with couscous
1 tsp of red lentil. Optional.

1 medium onion. Chopped
1 medium tomato. Chopped
Half a cup of veggies. I use carrots and peas. You can use your own stuff. You can even thaw a cup of those frozen veggies that you can buy at your grocery. But fresh, as always, has its own advantages.
1 Jalapeno. Chopped
A handful of Dill.
A handful of Cilantro or parsley.

1 tsp of mustard seed.
2-3 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tsp of grated ginger
2 cloves.
1 tsp of cumin.

half a cup of yoghurt
A palmful of coconut flakes. Unsweetened please!
1 tsp of oil. How little is that for a major meal in a day?  
half a cup of water. Hot is best.

Salt to taste

That's a lot of ingredients...but then it is something authentic Indian.Which means its all going to be worth it :)

So here is what you do.

In a skillet, heat oil and once hot, add the mustard seeds, red lentil, cumin seeds, jalapeno. Fry for  a few secs. Add the onion and fry for a couple of minutes. Leave em' crunchy. Add the garlic, ginger, tomato and the coconut flakes. Fry for a couple. Add the veggies and keep frying for another minute or so. Add the semolina and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Stir constantly. Semolina has a sticky habit and it sticks to the bottom pretty easily and then worst of all burns. So keep those hands busy till you see them turn yellow. 
If you are using couscous (as I do sometimes), it is best to boil water, add the couscous to the hot water with some salt and wait for ~ 10 minutes till the couscous is done and then drain it very very well to the point of almost drying it. 
When you see the semolina turn yellowish or the couscous is drained and dry, add the dill, yoghurt and water and mix all of it carefully and let the water dry up a bit. Season with salt and garnish with cilantro/ Parsley.

A tangy, spicy and flavorful brunch-- in a way you never thought possible! Enjoy with black coffee. That is what people in southern part of India do.

This is with semolina.

Happy eating and healthy living!


PJ said...

yumm.. your upma is making me hungry! I make upma with cracked wheat and it turns out really well too, I actually like the bit of texture that cracked wheat gives the dish. never tried making it with couscous, but soudns like a great idea.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

This look gorgeous ! but quite hard for me to cook this as few herbs are quite hard to find here.

Chow and Chatter said...

looks yummy, and a very filling breakie sorry I don't get over as much as before, love ya

Cinnamon-Girl said...

Your semolina sounds delicious! Very different from what I am used to eating for breakfast but I bet it gives you a great punch of energy for starting your day.

theUngourmet said...

I've never noticed semolina in the store. Now I must find it! This looks great!

Mary said...

This looks intriguing and I'm simply going to have to try it. I found your blog by chance but will be back often to see what you are making. I hope you have a wonderful day...Mary.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

I have semolina flour but this is in coarser grains right? If so, I'll have to make a trip to the Indian grocer and buy the right stuff. :)

Kim said...

Sounds like you have been a very busy lady! I love the way the upma sounds, with all the different flavors and so forth. Very nice!

Kathleen said...

This sounds like a great breakfast!

Peggy said...

Sounds like a nice savory breakfast! Definitely a good change from pancakes or cereal!

The Japanese Redneck said...

Different than the typical bacon/sausage/eggs/toast that we have. Interesting.

Jhonny walker said...

@ all:

The best part of this dish is it is different from the regular breakfast menus. Infact Iam looking forward to this again this weekend :) :)

Yasmeen said...

More than semolina ,my family love upma with couscous :D

Rhandi said...

I love the combination of flavors and the ease of the recipe- a handful of this and that with the right ingredients is my kind of meal. Healthy too! I

Velva said...

Semolina is very versatile. Also, in many parts a underappreciated grain. I really like it. I think your meal looks quite good.

Looking forward to your future posts about your travels and food expereinces.