Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday’s Brunch:Upma/Saanja (उपमा/सांजा)

How I got into the Kitchen to Cook?

After I informed my closest pals regarding CookWithMoi venture they mailed me in kind inquiring if there were any issues with my health!!I have been a “Cooking-Shy” personne always and such a reaction is not unexpected.Well,lot’s of free time and cooking illiteracy led my way towards the kitchen to cook!! However,I m loving these adventures and confident of completing this project in 240 days!

Anyway,its Saturday Brunch time! I am so missing the 7.30 am- “Upma” & “Nimbu Pani” (lemon juice) at Pai’s Canteen located within L.S Raheja School Of Architecture campus at Bandra (West),Bombay.Upma made my life with braces so comfortable.So,to the lovely Upma & Pai Uncle that I owe so much.These two things could take me this far [G.D Arch To M.Arch (Const.Mgmt)] !!IMG_3023

What is Upma?

“Upma” (famous breakfast delicacy made of Rava,originated in Colonial India popular amongst East India Company men & Indians) is known by various names in India and is made in different ways. Its called Uppindi (ఉప్పిండి)in Telugu, Uppittu (ಉಪ್ಪಿಟ್ಟು) , Kharabath (ಖಾರಭಾತ್) in Kannada, Upeet (उप्पीट) in Marathi and Rulam in Konkani.

“Rava” (basic ingredient) is often translated as Semolina in cook books and by various authors on the Internet. While this is not wrong, it is not entirely accurate either. Semolina is most commonly made from Durum wheat, which is thicker and yellow in color with a higher protein & gluten content than Rava. Rava is specifically semolina made from soft wheat (Cream of wheat or farina), a softer white cereal.

I made a type of Upma called “Saanja”.Aai used to make it for me when I was gymming vigorously.

Total Time=Cooking Time + Preparation Time=30 minutes max.



  • 1 muffin-full bowl of rava (thick one available at most Indian stores)
  • 1-3 muffin-full bowls of water (depends on the type of rava)
  • 1 tbsp of ghee +vegetable oil mixture (the book prescribes usage of 1 muffin-full bowl of pure ghee for 2 portions of rava,but i was economical in usage for obvious reasons)
  • 1 muffin-full bowl of green peas
  • 1 muffin full bowl of finely chopped onions
  • 1 muffin-full bowl of tomato (i used same quantity of red bell pepper that was in the refrigerator)
  • 1 tsp of udal daal (i used white sesame instead of the daal)
  • salt and sugar to taste
  • 2-3 chopped green chilies (my addition)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds +mustard seeds (i added mustard seeds for tadka)
  • 2-3 dry red chilies
  • 1 muffin-full bowl of shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder-This is my addition.The normal upma does not have any turmeric powder.However,saanja has the turmeric for yellow colour.
  • 5- roasted,deskinned peanuts (my addition)
  • 4-5 cashew nuts instead of 1 muffin-full bowl of cashew nuts and raisins.
  • 1tsp ajwain or oowa (my addition)
  • 3 cloves (my addition)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic (my addition)
  • coriander or cilantro for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder (my addition)

Laying the Pan

IMG_3016 I roasted the rava in the Pan until a it turned a little golden.The book actually asks us to roast the rava over ghee,but I avoided that.I shifted the roasted rava on a flat pan so that it could cool.

Heating the oil-ghee mixture ,I added the asafoetida,turmeric powder,green and red chilies,curry leaves, white sesame ,garlic,ginger as well as ajwain after cumin-mustard seeds crackled.

Different Methods

IMG_3015 The onions , bell pepper,peas , cashews and peanuts need to be sautéed.Ruchira suggests that one must add green peas first to the tadka & soon after that water as well as roasted rava must be put in (when water boils).IMFO,green peas don’t take long to cook so they should be added at the end.

However,I think that the onions when sautéed taste delicious and the rest of the vegetables etc also get crispier.It eventually adds to the taste. (tip: any other vegetables could be added too)

IMG_3018 After that,I added the roasted rava,sautéed it for a while and added water along with lemon juice.Once the water goes into the pan,I just covered it with a lid for 2 minutes.

On opening the lid,hot and tasty Saanja was bloating with aroma.I sprinkled little shredded coconut and loads of coriander on the Upma.I love it with Dahi /Plain Yogurt!

IMG_3022 Yummy & Healthy Saanja for the Saturday Brunch is ready to be eaten!

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