Friday, October 28, 2011

Uppma Update

One of the many things I've given up since going gluten free was uppma, a delicious savory combination of wheat semolina, veggies, spices, and just all around goodness.  It's a hard one too describe....savory breakfast cereal with veggies?  I didn't get it until I tried it at which point I was hooked and made many versions of it, preferably topped with thick yogurt and a dollop of crazy-hot cranberry chutney which I realize sounds weird but it is as close to heaven as things get for me.

I've missed uppma so much.  I make a lot of poha which is kind of similar but doesn't quite hit the same note for me.  The last time we visited a local Indian restaurant for a buffet lunch I excitedly loaded my plate with their tasty uppma.  My husband looked at me like I was crazy.  I think I was, just for a minute there.  I slowly scraped my gluten-laden uppma onto his plate but nothing on the buffet was all that exciting to me (until I hit the chili pakoras anyway).

I've been sick all week and have spent way too much time sitting on my butt and not being able to taste anything.  Today it occurred to me that I had everything I needed for an uppma fest including....rice farina.  Well, why not?

There were cranberries in the freezer so I started up some of that chutney while I toasted the farina.  Then I proceeded as usual: frying cashews in coconut oil, sizzling curry leaves*, dal, and mustard seed, sauteing  a chunky red bell pepper and a pile of onions (and only one little hot chili so my husband could partake-the heat is in the chutney!).  I tossed the toasted farina back in and gradually added boiling water risotto-style until the cereal could take no more without getting gummy, added a handful of peas from the freezer, and topped the whole thing with cilantro and the fried cashews.  I served it, as I love it, with Greek yogurt and a hefty dollop of cranberry chutney and I am one happy girl today.

My slightly revised uppma recipe can be found here in all its gluten-free glory.  It's another step, but don't forget the chutney!

Bergera koenigii L.Image by adaduitokla via Flickr* Curry leaves, the only truly unusual ingredient here, can be found fresh at any Indian market. I have also found them in the occasional Vietnamese/SE Asian market. They don't taste like "curry" at all.  They have a mysterious, slightly medicinal flavor that is impossible to reproduce otherwise so do try to find them as they add something quite special to South Indian dishes.  When I locate them I buy a big bunch, rinse and shake them well, strip off the leaves, and tuck them into a freezer-bound ziplock bag.  Press the air out of the bag and they will keep for quite some time.  They are generally tossed into hot oil with mustard seeds so they can go straight from freezer to skillet. 
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