For most people, When you say South Indian food, the food that comes to mind are Idli, dosa and vada but never upma.
For some reason, my favorite upma never makes to the list of many people’s favorite food, infact it tops the hate list, like in my own family(maybe b'cos of its gooey texture, many hate it)
But now it has topped the “Top chef masters” - a reality show in America and won a top prize of $100,000 for the participant chef Floyd Cardoz, the mumbai born new York chef behind the contemporary Indian restaurant Tabla and now upma goes international after knocking its spanish and Italian competitor. Ahem!
The once humble, now uppity ‘Upma’(tamil) or The 'uppittu' in kannada is very famous in Bangalore. It is also called 'Kara bath'(spicy) or along with its twin 'kesari bath'(sweeter version made with sugar and chunks of pineapple,raisins) it is called "chow chow bath".
Call it by any name, you will find me ordering it in any of the Udipi restaurants I frequent. It is a meal in a bowl and can be eaten anytime for breakfast, lunch or even dinner.( atleast by me).Simply yummmm!
An easy to make dish, can be rustled when you are feeling lazy to cook or it can even be cooked by a person who does'nt know to cook.
In simple form, it consists of ingredients like dry roasted rava(semolina/sooji), little oil for seasoning, green chillies, mustard, ginger, curry leaf, coriander and a teaspoon of urad dal.
We can jazz it up by adding vegetables like onions, tomatoes, peas, carrot, capsicum and it becomes nutritious - a healthy meal in a bowl. If you want it richer add a dollop of ghee and dress it up with fried cashews.
Ohhhh! The upma lover in me is surfing up.
I’ve slowly introduced this to my children and my husband who hate upma by spicing it up with ‘vangi bath powder'.
My appa who loves cooking rustles up the best upma which is called as ‘Devamrutham’(nectar of god) by my upma hating children. So when cooked rightly, even upma haters will love upma.
I am so glad that my humble, delicious and nutritious, easy to cook, safe to eat Upma has finally got recognition, that too International.
Move over Pasta,Pizza, Here comes Upma.
A healthy tidbit about upma: Dr.H.Narsimhiah , an educationist(vice chancellor of Bangalore university),freedom fighter,nuclear physicist whose physics text books were most sought after by Bangalore university students lived an healthy life till the age of 84. He was once asked in an interview his secret of good health and he answered that he cooked and lived on upma as long as he was in the US.
Pondicherry can wait but not upma, so this post preceded pondicherry.