As wikipedia quite rightly describes, Upma (Tamil) and Uppittu (Kannada) are the amalgamation of two separate words (The ‘U’ in both words is pronounced as in blue). In both languages ‘Uppu’ means salt. ‘Ma’ is short for ‘maavu’ in Tamil which means flour. Similarly, in Kannada ‘ittu’ is short for ‘hittu’ which also means flour. So essentially, it means ‘salty flour’. Upittu is dish ideal for situations where you have lots of visitors and not much time or patience. It is also great for a quick meal and finishing of leftover vegetables. Not surprisingly, it is quite filling and dad has nicknamed it ‘concrete’ because according to him, once it gets into your belly, it just sits there forever.
This blog is not about the traditional upma/uppittu which Wikipedia describes pretty well (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upma) but a recipe for a cheat’s take on it. Instead of semolina, which is used in the authentic version, I use bits of white bread. This can also be substituted with left over rotis/chappatis/wraps and any slightly stale bread.
1/2 a loaf of white bread, crusts chopped off and cut into 1 inch squares
1 medium sized potato finely diced
1/2 green capsicum finely diced
1 medium carrot finely diced
1 medium onion finely chopped
For the seasoning:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
1-2 hot red chillies (to suit your taste)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon chana dal (Bengal gram)
1 teaspoon urid dal (de-skinned black gram)
2 sprigs of of curry leaves
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger (substitute with ginger paste and use 1 tsp if you are not a big fan of ginger)
1. Heat the oil in a wok/deep pan. To test if it’s hot enough, throw a mustard seed in and if it bubbles furiously straight away, the oil is ready.
2. Add the following ingredients in the order that I list them – turmeric, asafoetida, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, channa dal, urid dal and curry leaves.
3. When the mustard seeds start to crackle and burst out at you, add the chillied and grated ginger/ginger paste to the oil. Cook for a minute until the raw ginger smell no longer lingers in the air. If your chillies are hot, then step away from the pan for a minute as the fumes with get you in the eyes and throat and throw you into a coughing fit.
4. Just as the ginger starts turning colour, add onions and saute until golden.
5. Then add the potatoes, carrots and capsicum and saute until they are well cooked. Taste a bit or two after 5-7 minutes. If you’ve diced them finely enough, they should cook in this time. Else, wait for a bit longer.
6. Once the veges are cooked, add salt to taste and mix well.
7. Finally throw in the bread or roti pieces and mix through the vegetables until the entire mixture is more or less uniformly yellow.
8. Bread uppittu is ready to eat as is or with some thick unsweetened yoghurt (I throw yoghurt on everything but that’s just me).
1. Bread uppittu keeps quite nicely for lunch the next day but I wouldn’t push it any further.
2. If you have left over roast vegetables and don’t know what to do with them, this recipe will come in handy. I would chop them to bite size pieces and throw them into the seasoning just before the bread.
3. If you don’t have very many vegetables, just onions will do the trick.