Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Upma or Uppittu (Rulaav Phanna)

Quick and easy dish for quick supper, breakfast and high-tea's in the evening. One of my childhood favorite dishes. I enjoy the simplicity and humbleness of this dish. Plus given that its healthy and nutritious, everyone in my family loves this dish. Upma is termed as Rulaav Phanna in my house. Rulaav stands for Sooji and Phanna refers to Tadka or seasoning. This is a popular Konkani breakfast or Taanni item. For weddings, rituals its served with Sev. As a child I refused to eat Rulaav without Sev. I have fond memories of this dish and the stories revolving around it.

In Bangalore, I realised that my kannadiga friends addressed this as Uppittu. There is a sweet version prepared by Mom which has only sugar, seasoning, cashewnuts and grated coconut. This recipe is a spicy version and serves well for those who like namkeen (salty) flavour to their food.

Recipe adapted with few changes from Jaya V. Shenoy's book - Amgele Khaan Jevaan on GSB Saraswat (Amchi) cooking.
Serves: 3-4 individuals

Sooji (cream of wheat) - 2 cups
Onions (finely chopped) - 1/2 cup
Grated coconut (for garnishing) - just a sprinkle
Green Chillies (chopped) - 2
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Cashew nuts (chopped) - 6-10
Garam Masala - 1/2 teaspoon
Ginger (minced) - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - as per taste
Boiled water - 2 cups

Heat oil in a saucepan, add mustard seeds and curry leaves once hot. After the seeds begin popping, add green chillies and ginger, onions, cashew nuts. Fry the onions well. The onions should be well fried otherwise the raw flavour remains and spoils the flavour of the dish.
Once fried, add the Sooji and fry well till aroma oozes out of Rava. You will notice the Rava turning slightly brownish. Keep the gas on low to medium flame lest you burn the sooji. Once completely fried, add boiling water and stir well. Cover with a lid and let it cook till water evaporates. Once done, turn off flame and garnish with grated coconut.

Suggestion: Do not stir too much as the Upma will turn lumpy. The quality of Upma depends on Rava fried and the stirring involved.

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