I love uppuma, it has so many variations and flavors, something to suit every mood and season. This recipe is with cabbage and peas, however, the end of this recipe also has the recipe for lots of variations. We always serve uppuma with hot and/or sweet mango pickle and yogurt. It makes a complete meal. I have reduced the amount of semolina I use to suit to make it healthier.
Chandra Padmanabhan is my favorite South Indian cookbook author. Her knowledge of the cuisine is phenomenal, and every recipe is amazing. Her balance of spices and flavors makes me want to cook every one of her recipes, and I am working my way through her many cookbooks.
For more recipes from this cookbook click here.
3 tablespoons ghee or oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon urad (Black gram) dal
1 teaspoon chana (split chickpea) dal
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida powder
1-2 dried red chiles
8-10 curry leaves
3/4-1 cup semolina. You can now get the roasted version in most Indian stores. If you cannot find it, dry roast the semolina in two batches in a frying pan over medium heat till lightly colored, about 3-4 minutes per batch.
2 onions, finely diced
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1-3 green chiles, Thai or other, sliced in half. Add as per you need for spice.
1/2 cabbage (about 3 cups), finely diced. I prefer Savoy cabbage if available. A wonderful variation is red cabbage too.
1 carrot, finely diced
1 cup peas, frozen ok
1/2 cup pearl onions, frozen or fresh
3 cups water
Handful fresh cilantro, minced
Limes, to taste
Salt to taste
In a deep pot add the oil/ghee and heat. Add the the tempering ingredients keeping the asafoetida for the last. Once the mustard seeds start popping add the onions and slit chilies. Cook on medium heat till the onions have turned soft, do not brown, about 5-7 minutes.. Add the ginger and turmeric and cook for another minute. Add the cabbage, carrots, peas and pearl onions and cook over medium flame stirring the pot to mix all the ingredients till cooked through, about 5 minutes. I like to leave the cabbage slightly raw and with some bite.
Add the semolina and mix everything, getting te semolina to coat the vegetables evenly. Add the salt and water, 1 cup at a time, and stir to mix the water in. As the water gets absorbed by the semolina, add more till the semolina is cooked through, about 3 cups water. You can choose to keep the uppuma as wet or dry as you desire. Remove the pan from the heat and squeeze in lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings, salt, and lime.
Serve with fresh cilantro sprinkled on top.
You can use many alternatives to water for cooking.
Vegetable or chicken stock. This add a wonderful rich flavor to the semolina.
Yogurt or buttermilk. This adds a tartness to the dish that amazing.
Coconut milk. This is the most decadent, it makes the dish creamyand very rice.
You can essentially use any vegetable or combination of vegetables.
Cauliflower, cut into small bites
Green beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Potatoes, boiled and cut into small bites
Okra, left whole or halved, and fried
Broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
Spinach, baby spinach whole, or spinach shredded
Root vegetables, yams, sweet potatoes, suran, elephant yams. all boiled and cut into bite sized pieces
Shallots and spring onions can be substituted for onions for a milder flavor
Tomatoes can be added to the vegetables to add a wonderful tartness to the uppuma. If adding the tomatoes, cook down the tomatoes to make a sauce
Cucumbers can be added as a topping for additional crunch and freshness
Fresh radish can be added as a topping