08 September 2007


Uppuma is so deliciously lovely. I'm adoring the flavour and the texture. To make this batch, I deviated a little from the straight recipe in the book. What happened is that I was using a combination of scallions and Spanish onions. I wanted to give them a fair bit of time to cook down and turn brown, but I did not want to spend a lot of time making my dish. While I roasted the sooji (farina, cream of wheat—they're all the same thing—or whatever you call the stuff), I allowed the onions and scallions (and mustard seeds, turmeric, salt, chilies, etc.) to brown in a separate pot.

I wanted them to get really well browned, so I let them do their thing over medium low heat. This allows the sugars to slowly come to the surface, and darken gently, rather than on high heat, where the sugars come to the surface quickly, and have a high chance of burning and stinking up your kitchen. I did roast the sooji over a high flame, but that is mainly because I have done it for a long time, and know what to watch for. When you do it at home, you might want to start off at a lower temperature, and maintain the even browning of the grains. Of course, the huge pain in the behind for making uppuma is that you have to stir so darned much! That being said, it is an extremely inexpensive and filling (and very delicious) dish, so it's not like I was complaining about a little stirring. After about fifteen minutes or so of stirring, the sooji transformed colour from a pale blond colour to a much deeper, richer tan colour.

See? Pretty, right? Notice how the colour isn't uniform, but rather graduated, from dark brown, to light tan. This is just perfect for the dish. The reason that we roast the sooji is to cook out the raw cereal taste from it, and to give it a depth of flavour. Once I got it to the colour that I was looking for, I poured it into a waiting stainless steel jug. The reason I do this is because the final step is to pour the sooji into boiling water. If you put it into a bowl, you're going to have to be careful not to spill anything, and you've got the weight of the bowl to contend with. With a jug, you've got a steady stream, no spillage, and very little weight (because mine is stainless steel, as yours ought to be).

In this incarnation, I was looking to inject at least a little bit of healthy stuff. I added in about half a kilo of spinach leaves (roughly chopped) after the onions got fully brown, and allowed the spinach to wilt completely, and to let out a fair bit of its water. Finally, when the vegetables were cooked, I added the water, waited for the boil, stirred in the sooji, and served it! 


  1. Have you tried caramelizing onions and such in the crockpot? I love to do it, and I was thinking it'd be nice to do it for Indian foods to make it a bit less time-consuming and lessen the chance of me getting distracted and burning it like I usually do.

  2. I would never trust caramelisation of onions to the cock pot. It's just that I want to have it done with in a few minutes, so I do it over high heat on the stove. If you'd rather not be bothered with burning, I would suggest tossing them with oil, and pitching them in the oven at 350ºF for 30 minutes. Ovens have timers, so you get the exact timing.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. This looks SOOO good and interesting. I really want to try it, but of course am too broke for the book at the moment. So tell me more about the grain itself... can I just use farina or cream of wheat cereal and it will work the same? Because I HAVE cream-of-wheat cereal. Or is it something else that's similar, but specifically for this dish? I love the idea of this, I'm big into "comfort food" and this seems like it would so fit my mental catagory of "comfort food" right about now - and I've never even tried it!!

  5. Tofu Mom: This is /exactly/ cream of wheat, but I would strongly suggest that you'd use the recipe from the book, because it's got the exact order of adding stuff to the pot, the spices you should use, bla bla bla. If you'd rather experiment, however, use the recipe I've got posted here, and start messin' around with what you have in the kitchen. It is most assuredly delicious, and VERY comfort food, without being fattening or unhealthy.

  6. Hmmmmm.... wait for payday and buy the book... or try to "wing it" with the recipe.....

    Agggghhh, you make life so DIFFICULT posting teasers like this, ya know? Now I suppose I'll just pout and fuss and wait a week or two... pfffft.... OK, get busy darlin'... post something ELSE to distract me.