Lalitha's Upma

Lalitha taught Deborah how to make this and Deborah taught me. Lalitha grew up in Madras, India, and this is a recipe she grew up making. It's pronounced oop-mah. It's good and easy to make. It's really good left over, even better the next day. I don't have specific amounts for most ingredients. Use quantities that seem right to you. (The Wikipedia page for Upma says There are many ways Upma is prepared; indeed, every upma cook usually will impart a small difference in flavour.)

The Recipe

Ingredients: Steps:
  1. Saute cumin seeds and black mustard seeds in oil until mustard seeds pop -- about a minute.
  2. Add onion and garlic and saute till golden.
  3. If chile isn't already cooked, saute it with the onions.
  4. Add water or broth.
  5. Add chopped vegetables, and chile if you haven't already done so.
  6. Salt to taste.
  7. Boil till vegetables are cooked as much as you want (don't overcook).
  8. Stir in cereal. Don't make it too thick. Be sure there's lots of liquid to begin with. At the time you add the cereal, the liquid to cereal ratio should be at least 4 to 1, maybe 5 to 1 or 6 to 1.
  9. Cook till cereal is done. Should be about the consistency of breakfast cream of wheat. Stir as needed so it doesn't burn.
  10. Add tomato towards the end.
  11. Serve with yoghurt.
Variations (I haven't tried these, but I bet they'd be good):
  1. Use couscous for the cereal.
  2. Add grated ginger root when sauteing the onions.
  3. Serve with fresh cilantro.