Monday, 14 May 2012

Arisi Upma

Arisi Upma

While growing up, rice upma was one of the dishes mom used to make often because all of us at home liked it. Infact I used to love the bits that were a bit overcooked and came out crisp at the bottom of the dish. Speaking of the dish, it is normally made in a traditional utensil called ‘vengala paanai’ which is a heavy metallic pot. The heaviness of the pot allows slow cooking without burning the food. My mom had bought one for me in my ancestral town of Kumbakonam as usually people there expect very high quality when it comes to utensils and end up being demanding customers. Anyway, she had sent it to me sometime back and I finally got to use it now as an uncle of mine asked me for arisi upma recipe. My husband does not like this dish at all so, honestly I have never made it before; my sister-in-law makes it often though. I got the recipe from my mom and almost followed it just until I wanted to add my twist. I substituted part of the raw rice with raw brown rice. As this recipe involves grinding the rice coarsely, one cannot find the brown rice without being told. So there you go, some wholegrain added to otherwise traditional recipe. A little technique that gets used while cooking this dish is covering it with a small cup half filled with water. This is said to prevent the upma from going dry and also, if you think you need more water, you could just add it from this cup as it would be warm. Some people like the upma grainy (grains standing out), some like it bit more mushy. The below recipe is for the latter so do reduce water quantity if you like it grainy. My mom used to make something called ‘pachai puli’ to go with this; I did not as it needed aubergine which does not arrive until middle of the week. So, finally, here is the recipe...

1 ½ cups rice (I used ½ cup brown rice and rest regular raw rice)
1 heaped tablespoon toor dal
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
2 dry red chillies
Few curry leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urd dal
2 teaspoons channa dal
Salt to taste
Cooking oil

Grind together rice, toor dal, cumin seeds and black pepper to a powder that is not fine but not too coarse

Heat some oil in a heavy bottomed dish or vengala paanai and add mustard seeds. Once it begins to crackle, add the dry red chillies, urd dal, channa dal, curry leaves and asafoetida. Allow the dals to start browning

Add about 3 glasses of water and required salt and bring to boil

Add the ground rice mixture and stir quickly so lumps do not form. Cover and cook on slow flame stirring occasionally. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, you can check if it is done by tasting the rice; if it still has a bite, give it more time. Depending on the desired consistency, you may want to add little more water in the middle of the process, make sure you add boiling water

Serve hot with a tangy chutney or kuzhambu