Rava Upma – Quick & Tasty Tiffin

Rava Upma – Quick & Tasty Tiffin Upma is a much maligned, under-rated dish among south-indian tiffins. Upma is quick, easy and tasty and needs very few ingredients. When you’ve run out of idli/dosa batter and you don’t have anything handy or you just don’t feel like taking all the effort, you make upma. So when all else fails, there’s upma, like Mamooty says in “Azhagan”. There are people who hate upma and there are people like me who enjoy a good upma. In many households, upma is never made. I think the upma haters are driven by the general image of upma being too plain and because they never have it. These kinds of tendencies build on themselves. You don’t like it, so you don’t have it and you continue to not like it which is why you don’t have it. Like the brinjal haters/okra haters… Generally in our house, upma is made in its own right as a tiffin and not just as a substitute. It is a good kid-friendly uni-age dish that you can serve toddlers as well , my son  with just around 4 and a half teeth (broke a tooth in half recently) quite enjoys his uppalam (thats what he calls it). My sister is an upma lover and my mom is therefore quite an expert upma maker (no that’s not the newest kitchen gadget, it’s just my mom). Now upma isn’t that difficult, but even the simplest dishes can go horribly wrong and I usually manage to test all possible bugs. So I know that even upma can go wrong. The key to a good upma lies in roasting the rava and using the right amount of water. Upma can be served as is or with chutney. Preparation Time: 5 mins Cooking time: 10 mins Serves: 4-5 Ingredients Bombay rava/Fine sooji/Fine Semolina – 2 cupsOnion – 1 large chopped fineMustard seeds – 1/2 tspSplit urad dal/Black gram – 2 tspCurry leaves – 1 stemDry red chillies – 2-3 broken into halvesSalt to tasteOil – 2 tspGhee – 1 tspWater – 4 cupsFried Cashewnuts – for garnish (optional)Coriander leaves – for garnish Method 1.      Dry roast the rava in a kadai/skillet till heated through and remove just before it starts to brown. Set aside the roasted rava. 2.      In the same kadai, heat 2 tsp oil and when hot, add mustard seeds. When the mustard starts...

Vegetable bath – Kid friendly Tiffen

This vegetable bath is a delightful cross between a pulao and a kichdi in that it is made with rava (Semolina) which is gently simmered in coconut milk rendering a wonderfully flavourful one-pot meal that little ones and adults are sure to like.   Vegetable bath My husband (mostly non-vegetarian fussy eater) and my son (fussy eater no matter what) both leave clean plates which is usually a good sign. It is delicious, healthy and versatile. It uses minimal oil and you can add most vegetables into it. It is not an upma mind you, after all the effort that’s gone into it. Give a rap on the knuckle with your karandi if someone calls it an upma. It is much more than that. It is a vegetable bath.  Preparation time: 10 minsCooking time 25 minsServes: 4-5 Ingredients Bansi rava (Broken wheat semolina) – 1 cup Bombay rava (Fine white semolina) – 1 cupCarrot diced – 1 medium sizedGreen Beans diced – 1/2 cupGreen peas – 1/2 cupPotatoes diced -1 medium sized dicedOnion – 1 large chopped fineTomato – 1 large choppedGinger – 1 inch piece peeledGarlic – 6-8 podsCoconut extract from 1 medium coconut – around 2 cupsGreen chilli (optional) – 1 or 2 slit lengthwiseTurmeric – ½ tspSaunf – ½ tspCloves – 2 or 3Cinnamon – 2 inch pieceGhee – 1 tbspOil – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (optional)Coriander leaves for garnishing – a handfulSalt to taste Method 1.      Dry roast both rava together in a large kadai (skillet) for 2-3 mins until heated through. The rava doesn’t have to turn brown. Remove from fire before the rava starts to colour. Set aside. 2.      Grind the ginger and garlic together to a paste with a little water. 3.      In a kadai, add ghee and oil on medium flame. Once the oil is hot, add saunf, cloves and cinnamon, let fry till fragrant, half a minute or so. 4.      Add the chopped onions and stir. When the onions turn translucent, add the chopped tomatoes and let fry for around 2 minutes. Now stir in the ginger garlic paste and fry for 1-2 minutes till the raw smell disappears. 5.      Toss in the chopped vegetables – carrots, beans, potaoes, peas along with the green chillies if using. Add turmeric powder and stir. Let the vegetables fry for 3-4 minutes. Stir around so that the vegetables don’t burn. 6.      When...
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