Semolina Upma Porridge cake with sweet flavors from Leek, the fleshy tartness from Tomato, the crunch of Peanuts n herbal cool depth from Rosemary
As far as I can remember my first taste of upma took place about 15 years ago when one evening my elder sister got back home n cooked upma excitedly for the first time in our home n I watched her, she must have learned it from the mother of one or her friends I guess. And when everything came down on the plate it was like tasting a new island…you know that sorta feeling! And then we loved it n then it was prepared again n again with hundreds of variation…well almost.
Upma is a savory preparation using semolina n vegetables as the two main ingredients, semolina/sooji/rawa is almost at every home in India and so often in the morning breakfast table or evening snacks time the kitchen is filled up with the aroma of curry leaves n roasted sooji, sound of sizzling vegetables in oil, sound of sputtering of mustard seeds play across the kitchen. An Indian kitchen is dramatic n full of life, the popping mustard n cumin seeds in oil, the humming exhaust fan gushes out the flavored smoke across the road hitting the home coming people n making them hungry as they reach home, their feet hurry up to reach even quicker.
If I have to describe the primary flavors of a traditional upma I will mention the curry leaves, the tomato, the chana dal, the semolina, the onion, the mustard seeds and lastly the ghee or the tomato sauce! Yeah when we serve upma we scatter a touch of ghee/clarified butter over it which gives it a fuller rich yet light flavor or tomato ketchup which gives u sweet n sour edge n both are very delicious. As a kid I was a fan of tomato ketchup, so often my upma looked red, you know why.
In this version of upma I have featured the mild flavor of the leeks which is like sweet onion in a way, the brilliant fresh aromatic astringent quality of rosemary, the satisfying rich n crunchy peanuts, the fleshy lovable tomato and the richness of milk. I have walked in a different path from the traditional upma, using milk as the liquid part, taking the mustard n the dal away but the structure remains the same, the result is a delicious smooth creamy upma with brand new flavors! How cool is that…new flavors are always welcome, new islands are to be ventured.
The origin of upma is in the southern part of India, a part from where came brilliant vegetarian preparation now enjoyed across the globe. May be it also came from Sri Lanka, the region of Tamil Nad n Sri Lanka are so close. Upma is known as ‘Uppuma’, ‘Uppittu’, ‘Uppindi’, ‘Uppumavu’, ‘Upeet’, ‘Rulanv’ across all the Sothern states of India, ‘Upma’ is a short term used in Hindi.
So now I’ll give you the recipe.
It is even good when cold, one healthy recipe that you can have time n time again, for this time don’t delay your bite, dig in, Bon Appétit.