Uppma

Uppma is the glorious ubiquitous morning savory ‘porridge’ of South India.  It is eaten in homes and sold on streets. Use whatever vegetables are available to you at the time – tomatoes are a great addition in the summer. 

makes ~4 cups

ingredients

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or ghee 

1 tsp black mustard seeds 
 

1 Tbsp raw lentils (urad dal)

8-10 kari leaves, chopped  

1 cup red onion, minced  

2 cups cauliflower, chopped

1 cup corn, fresh or frozen  

½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped

1 serrano pepper, minced

1 Tbsp ginger purée 

½ tsp salt (to taste)  

2 ½ cups water 

1 cup semolina or fine cornmeal  
 

Lemon juice from one lemon  

Cilantro, chopped  

instructions

  1. In a stockpot or a Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat and pop the mustard seeds. Immediately add the raw lentils. Cook for a few seconds until the lentils are golden. 
     
  2. Add the chopped kari leaves, red onion, and cauliflower. Sauté for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Lower the heat and cover until the cauliflower is tender - another 5 minutes. 
     
  3. Add the corn and cook for a few more minutes. Add the peanuts, serrano, ginger puree, salt and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and add the semolina in a slow steady stream, stirring with a wooden spoon to avoid lumps. The mixture will begin to thicken almost immediately. 
     
  4. Cover the stockpot with a tight fitting lid and lower the heat to its lowest setting and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes then turn the heat off. 
     
  5. Let the uppma rest for 5-7 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice, chopped cilantro over it.

ideas / variations

  • Enjoy with your favorite raita and greens. 
  • While uppma is mostly eaten for breakfast in India, it works wonderfully in place of rice with a chicken stew or a shrimp or vegetable curry.
  • Corn meal may be replaced with grits
  • For a healthier kick, replace half the semolina or cornmeal with quinoa.
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