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Adventures in the Kitchen and on the Road

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Upma (oop-ma) by Mona's Mom

I was lucky enough to be staying with a friend at the same time that his wife's parents were visiting from India. Mona's mom was happy to let me try to help in the kitchen. I tried my best to learn what she was making but she did everything by feel so this recipe is a rough approximation. She made this upma (pronounced OOP-ma) for a very filling breakfast. My boyfriend isn't a fan of the texture, a little too similar to oatmeal and porridge for his liking. I loved this dish and could happily have it every day. She said that this is a very commonly made dish and every family had their own variations on how they make it so you can search online for other things to add.

small photo of upma

this page makes it sound like you can just use boxed Cream of Wheat if you can't find sooji.

Mona's Mom's Upma

1 cup sooji (semolina) (found at Indian grocery)
1 cup raw peanuts (can find at most Asian groceries)
1 small tomato, roughly chopped
3-4 fresh curry leaves, torn (I leave these out if I haven't been able to go to an Indian grocery store)
2 to 7 small dried red chilis (depends on how spicy you want it)
half of a red onion (can use yellow onion instead)
dessicated coconut
cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

  1. Soak the peanuts in some warm water. Set aside until called for.

  2. Heat about half a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over low heat. Roast the semolina in that oil for a little until fragrant and then set aside.

  3. Add more oil and saute dried chilis, torn curry leaves, and diced red onions.

  4. Add diced tomato and peanuts that have soaked in water. Simmer.

  5. Add 2 small handfuls of salt.

  6. Add roasted sooji (semolina). Mix well.

  7. Add about 1 cup of hot water (she didn't really measure anything). Mix, then cover and let steam.

  8. Repeat, adding about 1 cup of water at a time. Allow almost all the water to be absorbed. It can get a little like cement if you let too much water get absorbed. Just pour in a little more water and stir again.

  9. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and dessicated coconut and then serve.

Thread in food_porn: http://food-porn.livejournal.com/6212588.html

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That looks tasty. Is the semolina little grains or the flour? I have semolina flour on hand but it looks like it's not the same texture.

It looks like teeny tiny grains, I don't know if it's the same thing as semolina flour but it might be.

this page makes it sound like you can just use boxed Cream of Wheat.

And Wikipedia lists a whole bunch of different uses for semolina (including upma).

Yeah I was looking at that page but it doesn't seem to distinguish between the flour and the grain things. I think what I have is the ground version of the grains. I hear couscous is made with semolina so it might taste similar.

If you can find plain cous-cous it should work fine.

Upma sure looks and sounds tasty. I love the dessicated coconut and cilantro topping.

I especially love all the coconut at the end.

That looks and sounds delicious!

It's a very hearty breakfast.

We've always made it with boxed Cream of Wheat, but it has to be the regular kind, not the instant. Whole Foods sometimes has an equivalent called Bear Mush in their bulk section.
Unsurprisingly, ours isn't identical. It has peas and potatoes in it and no tomato or peanuts, and is seasoned with black mustard seeds and turmeric rather than curry leaves (though I may add those next time since I love the flavor). We top it with nutritional yeast (since we got the recipe from a 1970s vegetarian), cilantro chutney and sometimes mango pickle.

Yours sounds awesome! Anything with peas and potatoes, I am so in. And I love black mustard seed, but my wife is allergic to all mustards. :\

Sounds like a tasty recipe. Thanks for telling me about it. Now I'll have to read more upma recipes online to see what other variations are out there.

Oh my goodness - yum! What a treat! I love learning about food traditions in people's families!

Yes I was very happy to learn this dish.

I just worked out, I want to eat all the things!
it looks like its just oddly hearty...

It was a surprisingly filling meal. Kept me so full that I wasn't hungry for lunch until later.

Yum! I could see this with quinoa too maybe.

I ought to give quinoa another chance. I tried cooking it once and it just seemed so-so but I keep hearing people sing its praises.

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