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Monday, June 16, 2014

10 Grain Cereal Upma and Quinoa Upma

10 Grain Cereal Upma and Quinoa Upma

Upma ("Oop-maa") is a staple in south India, usually as a tiffin item for breakfast or sometimes a light dinner, made with coarse grits-like farina. There were two schools of thought about the ideal upma in our family when I was young: the grainy, non-lumpy, non-sticky kind with  lots of vegetables like carrots, peas, onions, ginger, tomatoes, chilies etc; and the gooey, ghee-dripping kind with just some tempering and possibly chilies and ginger and a touch of salt to taste.

Over the formative years, I've gone from liking one kind to the other and back again. These days, in my kitchen, it depends on my mood.

For the gooey porridge-like upma, I prefer the coarse meal 10 grain cereal sold in bulk food stores: wheat, corn, rye, triticale, oats, soy beans, millet, barley, brown rice, oat bran and flaxseed. Sometimes, I add an optional 11th item - viz., quinoa - to this mix.

For the grainy coarse upma, I like just the quinoa, or a mix of quinoa and bulgur. I cook it al dente first and then make the upma as below.

Veggies in either case depends on what's handy. Typically, onions, ginger, chilies, cabbage, bell pepper, carrots, peas are the staple. Sometimes I add cauliflower, edamame, kale or spinach.

Tempering: heat a tablespoon of canola oil in a pan, when oil is hot, add split urad dal, when the dal turns golden brown, add mustard seeds, and when mustard seeds pop, add curry leaves and the vegetables.

Saute the veggies, then, add the 10 grain cereal for the gooey upma. Add boiling hot water to the cereal in the ratio 1.5 : 1 - i.e., one measure of cereal gets 1.5 measure of boiling water. Cover and cook on medium low heat till the cereal is cooked through. Add in ghee or flax oil Omega butter™. Stir well and serve warm with Indian pickles.

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