A staple in most tambram households, ours was no different and this was a relished dish back home. The process is a multistep one and is not at all labor intensive to be feared. You can entirely cut down the process by a step when you use Rice Rava or Idli Rava. Please note this is entirely different from sooji/ wheat rava .
The idea that this being rice based, is more easier on the stomach for digestion unlike the sooji which is more stripped of its fiber content.
If you would like to make the rava at home, then you will simply have to coarsely powder the raw rice to a granular stage. Sieve it to get rid of the flour , so you have only the granular stage of rice with you.
There are 2 ways to make this
—— Take 2 cups of raw rice ( basmati, sona masoori ) and run it through your food processor/ blender to get the coarse stage.
—— In a wide wok, heat 2 -3 Tbsp. of Tuvar dal, 1 Tbsp. of channa dal and 1/2 tbsp of whole black pepper. Slightly warm it to get the flavors crackling and coarsely pound it along with the raw rice. This option has a more fiery outcome but is simply delicious .
For my preparation, I used the store bought Idli rice rava. I believe this would be the parboiled variety, but it works well too.
Serves : 6
Prep time :
Stage 1 : Making the upma : 10-15 min
Stage 2 : Cooling time 10 min
Stage 3 : Making the globes : 15 min
Stage 4 : Steaming : 12- 15 min
Makes about 18-24 ( depending on the size of the globe )
You will need a heavy bottomed or good non stick kadai or saucepan for this with a well fitting lid.
Heat the kadai/ sauce pan with the oil and temper with asafoetida, mustard seeds and jeera. Once the seeds crackle add the channa dal and urad dal and on golden -browning ( it is a term, I made it up ), add the split red chilies and curry leaves and ginger and black peppercorns.
Add the 5 cups of water and when it reached a slight boil , add in the grated coconut and salt. Stir to ensure distribution of salt. Let it come to a full boil now.
Once it reaches the full boil, lower the heat to medium and add the rice rava ( idli rava) and stir well.
Cover with the lid and let it cook on low for about 7-8 minutes.
The water would be completely absorbed when you open the lid after this time and you can turn off the flame now. Stir once again very well and let it cool for a few minutes.
Meanwhile get a steamer ready. You can use pressure cooker vessel with idli stand. It works perfect or I just used a colander over a pot of boiling water to steam it.
Dip you hands in cold water or if you can handle the heat just go ahead, make big lemon or golf sized balls with cooked upma. I particularly like the round globes, but my grandma would make the oblong ones.
Steam it for about 12 – 15 minutes.
Let it stand for a couple of minutes and then serve hot with chutney and sambar.
Usually the Idli rava / rice rava cooking ratio is 1 cup : 2 cups of water. But the brand I seem to use yields a very dry mix. Hence I increased the rava : water ratio. Use what works for you.
I would not omit the grated coconut. It adds to tenderness of the upma outcome. It is worth it.
If you do not have red chilies, use green chilies.
Another variation would be to pulse the coconut along with few sprigs of cilantro. It yields a good flavor too.
Reminiscent of those Sunday meals where quick but delicious food was the norm and we had a gaggle of family and friends gathered around for one of those inimitable “quality times” at home. The aroma of fresh sambar and potato spicy podimas with a generous dose of onions and spiced just perfect with green chilies . Asafoetida wafting through the siren’s call of hot, steaming, fresh cooked food and aided by a perfect combination of melted ghee and vadams.
A typical south Indian brunch followed very shortly by filter kaapi – the mother of all Starbucks lattes and espresso, in my opinion. Those were the simpler times. Be it an impromptu weekend brunch or any of those big family gatherings, it was a given that house would be bursting at seams with folks. There was always a smile for everyone and room for one more ..
This dish dates back to those days. Clean flavors with minimal cooking but bang on the target for taste. Fresh curry leaves were always used – just taken of the tree in the backyard. Cilantro? the kitchen garden had it. Want mint ? Running out of something? Just peek into your neighbors’ backyard and give a shout out. Have a huge lot of veggies you harvested? Neighbors took them and nothing goes waste. Community living at its finest, sometimes.
This was a favorite prep back home. Infact you can make a ton of it and use it as a stuffing for masala dosa. Or be creative and stuff it into a bun or paratha, make a grilled sandwich. Possibilities ? Endless!
Prep time : 20 -30 min Cook time : 15 min
This serves about 6-8 people and goes great with samabar or simple rasam and rice.
Potatoes : 8-10
Onions : 2 , medium-sized
Ginger : skinned, a big 1 inch piece
Curry leaves : 6-8
Asafoetida : 1 generous pinch
Turmeric powder : 1 tsp.
Salt : 1.5 tsp.
Green chilies : 6 ( I used very spicy ones )
Cilantro : 1/4 cup, chopped finely
Mustard seeds : 1 tsp.
Split, washed urad dal : 1 Tbsp.
Oil : 2 Tbsp.
Boil the potatoes ( or pressure cook them ) well, peel and mash them roughly ( retain small chunks, don’t make it a gooey mess) and set aside.
Chop ginger and chilies finely or coarsely as per preference and set aside.
Finely slice onions and set aside. I used 2 golf ball sized red onions. You can increase or decrease the quantity based on personal preference.
In a wide bottom heavy skillet ( use a heavy cast iron or nonstick if available ) add the oil and heat it. Add in the Asafoetida when the oil gets hot. Now add in the tempering of mustard seeds ( which will splutter) and urad dal. Once the urad dal is light brown in color , add the curry leaves, chopped ginger and chilies. Sauté for about 30-45 seconds and then add the turmeric powder and the sliced onions.
Sauté the onions till well brown.
Now add the mashed potatoes and salt and gently stir fry in the skillet until the spices are well coated and potatoes are evenly salted as well.
Remove from heat, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.
I had sorry looking bananas on the table. These were nearly on their way to the graveyard and dangerously on the edge to attract fruit flies – in November. In any case there were four of these and I swear they were brought in from the store not long enough. Usually , I do not have left over bananas. Between the kids and a perpetually hungry labrador, nothing much gets wasted . Maya , my black lab practically salivates when she sees bananas. I still cannot understand her fascination for the fruit. In any case, these 4 escaped the regular crowd at home and their rapid progression from green to yellow to near black was a lesson on natural advancement.
My first thought was my very favorite – the banana cake one. Light airy, porus. But I was faced with a near empty pantry…No eggs or self rising flour. No condensed milk. Barely few scrapings of APF. You get the picture…
But I did have white whole wheat flour. Oh how I love these. So here we go a quick and easy recipe for banana bread. It can yield 2 loaves or you can do what I did – bake it in a Bundt pan. I used the 10 cups one.
White whole wheat flour : 2 cups
All purpose flour ( APF, unbleached and unbromated) : 1 cup
Ripe bananas : 4-5
Brown sugar : 1.75 cups ( you can make it 2 if you would like )
Unsalted butter / Canola oil : 1/2 cup
Baking soda: 2 tsp.
Buttermilk : 1 cup
Pure Vanilla extract : 1 Tbsp.
Salt : 1 tsp.
Chocolate chips : 1/2 cup – your choice. Mini, caramel, dark , toffee, cinnamon etc.
Walnuts : Optional : 1/4 cup, chopped roughly
Pre heat your oven to 350F.
Dry Flour Mix: In a separate bowl, add 2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of APF and whisk it very well. Add 2 tsp. of baking soda and 1 tsp. of salt and whisk it very well again. You want to ensure thorough distribution of the baking soda. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment mush the bananas. I should have measured it , but I suppose would yield atleast 1.5 cups of smushed bananas.
Melt the butter or you can use canola oil , add it to the banana mix. Add in the brown sugar as well and 1 Tbsp. of vanilla extract.
Add the butter milk next and paddle whisk it lightly.
Now add the dry flour mix to this and mix until just combined.
Add the chocolate chips and nuts if using and mix once. Do not over mix.
Grease and parchment paper line a couple of 9 by 5 loaf tins and distribute the batter evenly. Or grease a Bundt pan and distribute batter in it.
Bake for about 40 min ( +/- 3 min ) . Tooth pick inserted in should come out clean.
If baking in a Bundt pan, let it cool in the Bundt pan for about 15 minutes , before you invert it to cool on a cooling rack.
Slice when completely cool .
Optional : dust with some powdered sugar before serving.
This bread will be of a slightly denser texture owing to nearly completely portion of whole wheat flour. Using APF entirely will make it light and airy .
You can substitute the chocolate chips to just nuts or use in combination.
You can also add 1/3 cup of dark cocoa for chocolate bread.
Adding cinnamon would be awesome too.
Instead of dusting it with powdered sugar, you can opt for a sugar glaze as well.
If you do not have butter milk, you can make your ow. To one cup of milk add a tsp. of white vinegar. Just let it stand for about a 3-4 minutes and you can use it.
You can also use sour cream/ greek yogurt in combination with milk instead of 1 cup of butter milk.