Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Upma with green pigeon peas (Kalu uppittu)

I always loved Upma with some peas in it – green pigeon peas (togarikalu) or green peas (batani) or Indian beans (avarekalu). It seems when I was a kid, I used to call it “kaupputtu”, my version for Kalu-uppittu (Upma with some peas in it).

And it still is one of my favorites, especially when it is prepared in the right way, with right proportions of ingredients. The aroma that fills into the house when preparing upma, a plate of hot upma with a spoon of ghee topped on it, the crisp lentils in it, awww... it’s mouthwatering.......
And now at home, my FIL gives me good company in being a fan of it! We both conspire to prepare it, against my MIL’s wishes and just savor it..... when there are green pigeon peas in the fridge, definitely there would be a demand for upma from FIL.....

Here’s how you make tasty tasty kalu-uppittu....

Kalu Uppittu / Upma with pigeon peas

Preparation time : 15 min
Cooking time : 20 min
Serves : 4-5

Semolina/Soji/Rava - 2 cups
Fresh green Pigeon peas / Togari kalu / Tuvar Lilva – 1 cup
Cooking Oil - 2 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Turmeric - a small pinch, optional
Green chilies - 8 – 10
Ginger – 1” piece
Onions – 1 medium sized, optional
Curry leaves - 15-20
Coriander – 1 tbsp, chopped finely
Water – 3-4 cups
Coconut - ½ cup, grated
Chana dal – 2 tsp
Urad dal – 2 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp, vary acc to taste

• Dry roast semolina in a thick bottomed pan for 5-10 minutes, continuously stirring. Roast till semolina starts browning and the aroma fills into the house
• If pigeon peas are not very tender, cook them in a little water, either on stove-top or in microwave for 3-4 minutes
• Meanwhile, chop onions into small pieces (Need not be very fine, and nor should it be very big ). Slit green chilies, grate ginger
• Heat water in a vessel and bring it to boil while you start with the upma
• In a thick bottomed pan, heat the oil, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter
• Add the curry leaves, slit green chilies and chopped onion and turmeric. (I did not use onions and turmeric this time)
• Sauté it well on medium flame for 2 minutes, add grated ginger
• Now add the pigeon peas (without water; save the water for later use) and sauté for another 3-4 minutes till the peas are soft
• Add salt and stir for another minute
• Now add the roasted semolina and mix thoroughly
• Carefully pour the boiling water into the pan, stirring continuously, ensuring no lumps are formed. Use a long ladle/spoon to avoid burning your hands
• Add grated coconut, coriander, cover the pan with a plate and cook for 5-8 minutes, on medium low flame. Stir occasionally. Turn off the flame and keep covered for a couple of minutes more.
• Finally, in a small skillet, heat a teaspoon of oil and roast chana dal, urad dal for about a minute till they turn golden brown. Mix it to the upma just before serving. This ensures that the dals are crisp when served.

• To make the upma more attractive, take a cup, add a bit of coconut, a few coriander leaves.
• Stuff the cup with the hot upma.
• Invert it over the serving plate and remove the cup carefully
• Add a spoonful of ghee and serve it before the ghee melts on hot upma :)

Tips n Tricks:
• Make sure the pigeon peas are tender, before adding it to the oil
• Chana dal and urad dal can be added along with other tempering, but adding it late retains the crispiness

• Pigeon peas can be substituted with green peas
• Adding onions or not gives very different tastes

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