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Semolina Uppma with Vegetables

For me, this is the ultimate comfort food. I love it in the evening after teaching yoga. When you want something warm and soft like porridge but need savory, not sweet, this dish is perfect. The Indian spices give it lovely flavour. Heat comes only from the green chilies, so adjust that amount according to your taste (and to the variety of chili you have). You can actually make this dish with any vegetables you like. No need to stick to the pepper and cabbage. Use whatever fresh vegetables you have in the house, keeping the quantity approximately the same. For myself, I halve this recipe (more or less). I love a nice big bowl of aromatic uppma to wind down with in the evenings, and there is still plenty left over to share with my son.

1 cup (170 gr) fine-grained semolina
1/4 cup (60 ml) ghee (or oil & butter)
2 hot green chilies, seeded & minced
1 teasp. cumin seeds
1 teasp. black mustard seeds
2 teasp. urad dal (if available)
1 red pepper, cut into very thin slices
2 cups (480 ml) finely shredded cabbage
1/2 cup (240 ml) fresh peas or chopped carrots or whatever you have
1/2 teasp. tumeric
1 teasp. salt (to taste)
2 cups (480 ml) water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Stir-fry the semolina over medium heat for about 5 minutes (dry), until the grains darken a bit. Set aside.

2. Heat the ghee in a saucepan. When hot, add green chilies, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and urad dal. Fry until mustard seeds pop & urad dal turns reddish-brown. Stir in the prepared vegetables and tumeric. Stir fry a few minutes, then turn down heat. Cook until the vegetables are tender but not limp (tender-crisp).

3. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. While stirring, slowly sprinkle in the semolina. This is important, as lumps can form unless you stir continuously & pour very slowly. Add salt, stir. Reduce heat to moderate & cook until all the liquid is absorbed & the uppma is light and fluffy (about 10-12 minutes). Stir in the fresh coriander. Before serving sprinkle with lemon juice (you can also add some chopped cashew nuts, especially if you don't have any urad dal).

Serves 3 - 6 (all depends on how much you want to eat . . . . )


Recipe adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine, the Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi.

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