I love cozy, mushy dishes. Especially the hot and savory kind. If mashed potatoes, grits, or even a nice risotto or stuffing are on offer, I may very well skip dessert. So, while traveling in India, I was delighted to discover upma, a fluffy, flavorful, veggie-studded grain concoction that checks all my hot, cozy, mushy boxes.
When I returned to the U.S. and eagerly started improvising my own upma, I discovered that it has excellent use-up-it powers as well. My go-to core recipe is oh so basic — sauté some onion and spices, add the grain and water and peas, and boom, you have upma, or at least my quick version of it. But, let’s say you also have some spinach that needs a home? Into the upma it goes! How about some lentils? Pop them in for extra protein. Stray veggies like peppers and carrots? Now that’s a regular upma party.
I first met upma at breakfast buffets, but for me, it’s become a go-to for dinner. It’s divine with a molten-yolk egg on top. It also freezes well, so you can make a big pot and have some handy, ready-to-go meals.
And, and more good news: that grain that back India I assumed would be hard to find back home? It turns out it’s actually semolina, the same stuff they use to make Cream of Wheat. So, once you acquire a box of Cream of Wheat, you’re on your merry upma way!Print