Posts Tagged ‘Upma’

Arisi Upma

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009


Now if you are wondering why on earth I keep on posting just rice dishes and look like I live in the 17th century, and you ask me that Q, as usual I have a long story to tell. Did I mention that they used to call me BBC in high school :)

All was well in our paradise and just a few months ago, N suddenly became allergic to consuming Gluten.He came back from his trip to Europe and could not even eat one whole chappati. I swear it was not because of my cooking :) Finally we realized that he was allergic to gluten and we (yes, we) stopped consuming products containing gluten for sometime. That means no poori(sob sob), no maida, no pizzas, no pasta, no rava, no vermicelli etc etc., The allergic reaction came suddenly and now its gone. We dont know how it happened and we are just glad that that tough phase is over now.

Those 4-6 months was a real test for me in the kitchen. Usually we can dump cereal in a bowl of milk, gulp it and start the morning routine. But then cereal and bread are also made of gluten. So we had to search for gluten free products and I even baked our own bread at home with gluten free flour. Wholefoods market was our life savior during those times as they sold special gluten free cereal and flour. Then came the big Q. Whats for dinner? That was the time when I started making more of traditional Indian recipes as a substitute for all other gluten-foods. As it is we are vegetarians and what to do if something like this comes up?

Thankfully Indian cooking has got lots of recipes like Idli, Dosa,adai, Pongal, Arisi upma, Idiyappam, Khichdi which can be made with just rice. I learnt lots of recipes from amma and my aunts which are made just using rice, the recipes they had before pizzahut and pasta mania took over.

But when N was on a tour, finding gluten free food was a major issue. That prompted me to learn how to make instant powders like coconut rice powder. Have you ever heard of anyone sitting in a hotel in Las vegas(of all places) and cooking instant rice and mixing it with the coconut rice powder to make coconut rice? Thats me :)

It was a tough time  overall because N likes pani puri/ phulka with some Gravies, samosa. But the puri in pani puri had wheat/rava, and what we used to do was to make some rice dish like panner fried rice or methi rice and have it with a gravy like chana masala or kofta so that our vegetable intake was more than the carbs.

One of our saviors during those times was arisi upma. Arisi upma is a very simple recipe and can be made for dinner or breakfast. I used to make arisi upma with vegetables or a gravy with vegetables to go with the upma.  Arisi upma is also the base for another recipe- the arisi kozhukatti or pidi kozhukattai.

Ingredients (Serves-2)

Rice – 1.25 cups

Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp

Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp

Grated coconut- 4 tbsp

Red chilies-2

More-milakai (yogurt chilies)-2

Chana dal- 1 tsp

Curry leaves- a few

Asafoetida- 1 pinch

Oil- 1 tbsp

Salt- to taste

Water- 3 or 4 cups


Sprinkle rice with some water, just a tbsp or so and mix well. It should be done in such a way that rice is slightly wet but not soaked through. Keep aside for 5 minutes.


Heat oil in a pot and add asafoetida and mustard seeds. When they splutter, add cumin seeds, chana dal, curry leaves, the chilies and stir fry for a minute. Add the coconut and just stir once. Add about 3 cups of water, salt to taste, cover and let it boil.

Now back to the rice. The rice should be slightly dry now and should have absorbed all the water. Pulse it using a blender so that it is not a powder like rice flour, but coarse and smaller in size than a grain of rice. Say, almost to the size of mustard seeds. You can also sieve the finer particles out but I just use everything, coarse and fine.


When the water is boiling, reduce the flame to a low-medium and slowly add the rice and keep stirring to avoid any lumps. Cover and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes. Make sure that there is enough water to cook the rice, but not so much that the upma will be mushy or so less that it will be dry and uncooked. If you have to add any water, add some warm water as that will quicken up the cooking process.

Check if rice is cooked through. Mix well and serve hot with pickles or chutneys. I like to have it with mango pickle.

Kharabath (spicy cream of wheat pudding)

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

If only I could call it with the name I am so familiar with, I wouldnt have this story to tell about the famous khara bath- rava upma (cream of wheat pudding)

When we were newly married, we used to live in the East Coast. I was searching for jobs/schools so I was at home most of the time. One fine evening, as hubby was driving back to home, on a rainy day(well it almost always rains/snows in the east coast once winter approaches), he called me and said he wanted to have hot kharabath for dinner..SLV style.

The points to remember are that hubby speaks kannada like anything and I speak tamil like anything..and I didnt know what kharabath was as I had never set my foot in Karnataka. I thought it was some rice variety as all rice dishes end with a bath..vangi bath, bise bela bath, bagala bath etc., And the first bench student that I was, I would have told him the only SLV I knew was Solid-Liquid-Vapor Equilibrium :)

I waited for him to come home to ask him what it was..You see, hubby will eat a dish somewhere and to recreate it at home without eating or tasting it is quite a task…After a few explanations though, I was laughing as it nothing but the simple vegetable rava upma we make at home. I also learnt about the famous SLV restaurants in bangalore that day.

I think of this incident every time I make upma. The kharbath is slightly different from upma as we dont include red chili powder in upma, but thats what gives the karam(spice) to the bath..hence the name kharabath! I usually make my upmas in a bronze vessel called Uruli. Uruli gives a very unique taste to arisi upmas and so I carried this one all the way from home to US.

Ingredients (Serves-2)

Rava- 2 cups

Finely chopped onion-1/4 cup

Finely chopped tomato-one(small tomato)

Mixed veggies- 1 cup (beans, carrots, peas, potato,cauliflower, depending on what you have in hand)

Oil- 2 tsp

Salt- 1 tsp

Mustard seeds-1 tsp

Chana dal- 1 tsp

Turmeric powder- 3/4 tsp

Red chili powder- 1/2 tsp

Chopped ginger- 1 tbsp

Slit green chilies- 3 numbers

Curry leaves- 4

Cilantro to garnish

Lemon juice(optional)

Water- 4 cups


Add a tsp of oil in a pan and fry the rava till it turns golden color and smells like its well done. Remove from fire.

In another pan(uruli), heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add chana dal, curry leaves, chopped ginger and slit green chilies. Stir for a minute.

Add the chopped onions and fry well till it turns transparent. Add all other veggies, tomato,salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add 4 cups of water and cover.

When the water is boiling and the veggies have turned tender, reduce the heat to a low or switch off for a minute(This is important else rava will splatter all over the place).

Now slowly add the fried rava and keep stirring so that no lumps are formed. Increase the flame to high for a minute, stir well and switch off. Do not keep cooking after adding the rava. Garnish with cilantro leaves and lemon juice.

Partially cover the pan after switching off. Fully covered pan will result in mushy kharabath as the steam will condense and fall on top of the kharabath.

Serve hot with chutneys or mango pickles.