January 25, 2011

Avarekai uppittu/upma – Spicy cream-o-wheat and green kidney beans

Uppittu or upma is a very common South Indian breakfast. The basic ingredients are rava (semolina/cream of wheat), salt and chilies. This recipe can be altered according to the your taste, by adding in vegetables and beans. This version with avarekai is an authentic classic.
What I used: Serves 4
1 cup of medium rava/semolina
1 tsp urad dhal/uddina bele
1 tsp channa dhal/kadale bele
½ tsp mustard seeds
4-6 red hot chilies coarsely broken
A sprig of curry leaves
1 cup of fresh/frozen avarekai
2 and ½ cups of boiling water
2 cloves and a ¼ inch of cinnamon
½ tsp grated ginger
½ cup onions chopped
½ cup tomatoes chopped or 3 tsp lime juice
1 cup any other vegetables of your choice (finely chopped/grated carrot, peas, chopped beans)
A few sprigs of fresh cilantro to garnish
Salt to taste
3 tsp of oil/ghee
A few whole cashews (optional)


In a small pan boil the avarekai in 2 and ½ cups of water and a pinch of salt. On another burner, set a shallow pan to heat on medium. Add a tsp of oil, and roast the channa and urad dhals to a light brown, add in the red chilies and curry leaves, after a few seconds, add the rava and roast them all on medium heat, until they are aromatic. Set aside.

In a saucepan on medium-high, add 2 tsp of oil, as it shimmers, add in the mustard and cover. When the spluttering subsides, add in the cloves, cinnamon and onions. After a minute, add the ginger and  tomatoes, when they all get soft, add in the vegetables and roast well. Now pour in the boiling avarekai and water into this and give it a good boil. Check t see if the vegetables and beans have cooked. If they are soft and about ¾ th done, we are good. Lower the heat from medium-high to medium, Hold a spoon or ladle in one hand, stirring the boiling mixture, then in the other hand, gently pour the rava little by little, constantly stirring the mixture to get rid of any lumps. Once all the rava is in the water, stir it real weel making sure there are no lumps. Cover it and let it simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and a spoon of ghee. Serve it hot. Enjoy!