I tried it just this morning for a leisurely Sunday brunch, and she's right- the rice cooker makes excellent upma. All you do is make the tempering and get the vegetables started in a small pan on the stove top, then add these to the rice cooker with rava (cream of wheat) and water. Then walk away and come back to luscious upma wrapped in fragrant steam.
In Indian stores, you often find something called "roasted upma rava", which is coarser than regular rava and pre-roasted. If you are using the regular kind, roast the rava before you use it in this recipe.
Rice Cooker Upma
(makes 3-4 servings)
1. Heat 2 tsp. oil in a medium saute pan and add the tempering-
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
Pinch of asafetida
1 tsp. urad dal
1 tsp. chana dal
1 sprig curry leaves
2. Stir in the following and cook until onions are translucent-
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
Handful chopped cashews (or peanuts)
1 medium onion, diced finely
2 hot green chillies, chopped in thirds
3. Stir in 2 cups mixed vegetables, cut in small dice. I used carrots, peas and green bell pepper this morning; corn, green beans, spinach, potato, lima beans, cauliflower work too.
4. Now turn off the heat and transfer the contents of this pan to the rice cooker.
5. To the rice cooker, add-
1 rice cooker measure roasted upma rava (my rice cooker came with this measure; it holds 180 ml versus 240 ml in a standard US cup)
Salt to taste
1⁄2 tsp sugar
3 1⁄2 rice cooker measures water
5. Plug in the rice cooker and let the upma cook. It will shift to the "warm" mode when it is done.
6. Stir in the following-
1 tbsp. ghee/butter (optional)
Handful of minced cilantro
Handful of grated fresh/frozen coconut
Lime or lemon juice
7. Serve with podi or pickles and something crunchy, if you like.
This was incredible! I don't make upma very often because I don't like the frequent stirring, and the rava clumping and clinging to my spatula, then forming little volcanoes and spitting steam on me. This takes the fuss right out of it. Brunch just got a lot easier.
On the Bookshelf
I took a break from reading a couple of non-fiction books and the rather heavy Pulitzer prize winners to read something more entertaining.
Tarquin Hall has written a detective novel and his character is India's Most Private Investigator, Vish Puri. The book is set in contemporary Delhi, with trips to Jaipur and Jharkhand. It is a quick read and an engaging mystery, capturing the frantic energy of urban life in India, and is written in typically Indian English (which I love, because I speak it), sprinkled with phrases like "outside food" and "thank you, ji" and "listen, na".
There are countless references to food, like when Vish Puri devours green chili pakoras against his physician's orders-
"...he sank his teeth into another hot, crispy pakora and his taste buds thrilled to the tang of salty batter, fiery chili and the tangy red chutney in which he had drowned the illicit snack."A reader named Vijaya recommended this book to me in a comment on this post; if you are reading this, thank you Vijaya!
What's on your bookshelf these days?