My answer would be patience ... the time would span a good number of years; some memories ... wrack the brain to remember all kinds of upma I have ever tasted; prayers ... every time I tried making this one dish I have prayed to the almighty real faithfully, and of course keeping my fingers crossed every time ... fingers and toes and everything.
Yeah ... making an Upma has been the biggest challenges I have ever faced ever since I started to cook. I can cook up a good Rajasthani spread or a good full course Bengali meal without a frown on my brows. But when it came to making the upma I got the jitters, the butterflies, the hibijis ... and still come up with something that would resemble a coagulated something.
Yet I would keep at it ... just because I love the darned dish so much.
Jethima would make us upma some days as an evening snack, when we were young. She was a wonderful cook but the upma was definitely not her forte. I remember it was so oily it would happily slide down our throats ... if you discount the one stray thick slice of onion that one unlucky kid would end up with.
Ma has always gloated on her version of the less oil and fluffy version. Honestly, it used to be so dry it used to turn into a lump in our mouths ... that we kids could neither swallow nor throw up.
I wonder if the elders ever got 'round to wonder why we kids always demanded a little of the evening tea ... which we were never allowed to have ... on the evenings we were served the upma.
And that is when I decided that I can put it on my blog now.
This is my version ... the way I make it these days. It is moist without being lumpy.
Most you must be experts at making this ... if you have any tips, please do share them with me.
Rawa / Sooji - A little more than ½ katori ( or a small sized coffee mug )
Vermicelli ( I use the pre-roasted ones) - ¼ katori
Cooking oil - 2 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Urad dal - ½tsp
Onion - 1 medium
Ginger - 1 tsp, , chopped
Green chillies - chopped
Carrots - chopped into very small pieces
Cauliflower - chopped into very small pieces
Tomato - 1 medium, chopped
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste
Water - 1 and ½ katoris
(Use the same katori that you have used to measure the rawa)
Dry roast the rawa/sooji till the 'just before brown' stage, in a thick bottomed open pan.
Remove from heat and stir in the vermicelli and stir around for a while in the same pan, but away from
Heat the water on another burner or in the microwave oven.
Heat oil+ghee in a kadahi.
Add mustard seeds, curry leaves.
When they start to splutter, add the urad dal.
Next add the onions+ginger+green chillies.
Fry on low heat. Add a little salt ... just for these three.
When the onions turn translucent, add the vegetables.
Add some more salt ... just for the vegetables.
Cover and cook till the vegetables are done.
Remove cover and add the tomatoes. Stir and cover.
Cook till the tomatoes are done.
Now add the rawa+vermicelli to the vegetables.
Add salt to taste and sugar. Fry well on low heat for a good while... the rawa should soak up the ghee
and also the moisture from the vegetables.
Add the hot water and keep stirring well.
Toss and turn till all water is soaked up.
Give some more turns with the spatula, cover and let it rest for ... say ... 3 minutes.
Remove cover and fluff it up with a fork.
This is my 270th post.
I have tried hard to keep Kichu Khonn going on, inspite of all the setbacks I have faced so far.
It has been possible only because of your love and encouragement. I have had to take many breaks, but each time was deluged with affectionate and encouraging mails and messages.
I have never felt alone ... even when I could not open my blog or FB.
I do not count the number of posts now ... the fact that I can make a post at all and you, my dear readers coming back here to write in, is reward enough for me.
Thank you all for your love and support.
I and Kichu Khonn hope that you will stay by us, as always.
Much love to all of you.