As the morning air begins to crisp up, I find myself reaching for the warmth of puddings and porridges over smoothies and shakes. Light and fragrant, Upma is not very different from polenta in texture except cream of wheat or semolina and not cornmeal is the grain of choice here. Creamy and speckled with colourful vegetables, Upma is nutritious and just pure comfort. My pared down version doesn't demand specialty ingredients and can be put together with whatever is in your store cupboard.
Ingredients To serve 3-4...
1 cup cream of wheat
1 small onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, diced
1/2 cup peas
1 small green chili pepper, chopped fine
1 tsp ginger, finely minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp raw cashews, roughly broken
Ghee or vegan butter to finish
Toast cream of wheat in a dry pan until golden and nutty. Remove and set aside.
Tip in chopped onions, ginger, green chiles, bell peppers, carrots, peas, cashews in a little oil and sauté until softened. Season with salt.
Add 2.5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and gradually whisk in the grain while stirring continuously. When the mixture starts to leave the sides turn off the heat.
Squeeze a little lime, fold in some ghee or vegan butter, chopped cilantro. Serve hot with yogurt, a spicy tomato relish and/or mango chutney.