Monday, August 27, 2012

Loaded Veggies & Cream of Wheat Upma

This winter season has been pretty rough, since the week before Christmas we've gone through 3 ear infections and 2 colds, so when I heard the first dreaded cough last night, I knew I had to go all out to drive this infection away. I decided to make upma, which is a hot vegetable pudding usually made from semolina but a good friend once suggested I use cream of wheat instead as it has lots of good stuff like iron, calcium and its not too bad in protein content either.

Upma is very simple to make, you can use almost any vegetable you already have in your refrigerator, and with ingredients like ginger, tomatoes and turmeric its a great boost to the immune system.

Ingredients to make 4 hearty servings:

  1. 1 small onion, diced
  2. 1 tomato, diced
  3. 1 tbsp freshly shredded ginger
  4. 1/2 cup of each: corn, peas, carrots, zucchini, bell pepper ** (all larger veggies should be diced)
  5. 1 tbsp turmeric
  6. 1/2 tbsp salt
  7. Cream of wheat

Ingredients for tempering/seasoning:

1. 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
2. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3. 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder (also called "hing". Don't get turned off by its odd smell, I promise it smells a lot more pleasing after it hits the heat! Hing is great for digestion and is said to help fight the flu)
4. curry leaves (not necessary but if they are lying around in your fridge then you may as well use them as they provide a nice aroma to the dish)
5. 3 tbsp of ghee or cooking oil

(If you don't have any/some of the seasoning ingredients it's ok, you can still carry on with the recipe.)

  1. Heat the ghee/oil in a pot on a high flame
  2. Add the mustard seeds and let them sit until you hear the first "pop"
  3. Add the cumin seeds and drop the flame to medium
  4. Add the asafoetida and mix well
  5. Mix in the onions, curry leaves and ginger and let the onions cook until they are golden brown. Make sure you have enough ghee/oil to coat the onions, adding a little more if necessary.

Seasoned onions, ginger and curry leaves

    6.  Add the tomatoes, cover the pot and let them cook until they are nice and soft
    7.  Add the remaining diced vegetables and enough water (2 cups) required to prepare the cream of wheat.

8.  Mix in the turmeric and salt, cover the pot and let it cook on a medium/low flame until all the vegetables cook and the flavors come together (which is about 10 minutes).
9. Bring the pot to a boil, now is a good time to check the salt content and to adjust the taste if needed. 

10. Mix in the cream of wheat as per the instructions on the box, or if you're like me, just keep adding the cream of wheat until you get the consistency you desire. 

And there you have it, your loaded cream of wheat, soothing comfort food and the veggies are soft enough that even the fussiest of toddlers wont realise what they're putting in their mouths!

** Here is a list of vegetables that can be used in upma, its really up to you what you use and what is available: corn, peas, carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, squash, potato.
To make this a more adult flavor, you can add green chilli's and red chilli powder to the recipe at the time when you add in the water to the veggies.


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