Friday, March 14, 2008


The CC has been craving this but he had run out of ingredients. To add insult to injury, a friend mentioned via chat that she was making it. The CC could've killed her for bringing it up on a day where heavy downpours coincided with unachievable cravings.

So an quick trip to the store the next day, he set out to make it.

The idea is simple. Take finely ground wheat (cream of wheat, farina, rava), and cook it with spices till it's light and fluffy. The similarity to both couscous (tiny cooked pasta), grits (tiny bits of corn), and innumerous similar dishes worldwide should be noted.


1 cup rava (cream of wheat)
1 small onion (finely diced)
2-3 green chillies (finely chopped)
1/2 cup broken cashewnuts
assorted finely diced vegetables (carrots, peas)

1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp urad daal
8-10 curry leaves

1-2 tbsp lime juice


Fry some mustard seeds at medium heat, add the urad daal and the asafoetida, followed by the curry leaves. Apologies for the bad quality of this picture but the CC had to get to the next step before the daal burnt.

Add the onions, green chillies, and let it fry for a while.

Add the cashews and let them fry.

Now, we need to roast the rava at medium to medium high heat. This step cannot be hurried. It is the source of the deliciousness thanks to Master Maillard. If you don't do this, or try to speed it up, you will end up with boiled wheat (which tastes about as good as it sounds.)

The mixture needs to be stirred continuously until it turns a pale brown. Do not let it burn.

The vegetables should go in towards the tail end.

This is the hardest step to describe. There are two ways to do this. The "Indian" way, or the CC's way.

The Indian way involves adding the roasted rava to water. This requires you to correctly gauge the amount of water and lime ahead of time, and mess around with splashage. The CC's way is slower but will get you flawless mess-free results that are indistinguishable from the original.

Add water a few tablespoons at a time using a tablespoon. Do not "pour". Stir, and break up the lumps. The idea is to let them steam in the tiny amount of water. Keep repeating this quite slowly until it becomes hard to break up the lumps at which point stop adding water. Towards the end, you should add the lime juice if you like. Yes, the CC is aware that these instructions sound like "get off two stops before the last one" but what can he do?

Take the pot off the heat at the end. Even the modest heat coming off a gas stove will destroy it. After all this work, you don't want to blow it in the last step without even realizing it.

Do this right and you will end up with a light and fluffy delight.

Do this wrong and you will end up with something that looks like fratboy upchuck after an all night kegger.

The CC knows he won't earn any points for subtlety with that simile but readers "in the know" will give him high marks for dead-on accuracy.

Fluffy delicious upma

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