Have you ever had one of those days when you don’t feel like cooking up an elaborate meal but you still feel like having something new? Yesterday was one of those days for me. I usually resort to searching through food blogs and looking for new recipes but yesterday something struck me just as I was reviewing the ingredients I had. So I came up with this. A simple and refreshing twist on the traditional upma 🙂
Just like a usual upma recipe, this was quick to make and requires minimal ingredients. Everything that I added is almost entirely optional and you can easily substitute it with something else that compliments cabbage. I made it entirely with ingredients I had at home and half a head of cabbage that I had leftover.
Here’s what you need:
Roasted Rava – 1/2 cup
Finely chopped cabbage – 2 and a 1/2 cups
Finely chopped onions – 1/2 cup
Finely chopped capsicum/green peppers – 1 /2 cup
Mustard – 1 tsp
Jeera/cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Perungayam/Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Red Chili powder – 1 tsp (you can reduce the amount but cabbage is quite bland so 1 tsp doesn’t make it too spicy at all)
Kasturi methi/dried fenugreek leaves – 2 tbsps
Crushed peanuts/peanut butter – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil – 2 tbsps
Roughly 4 cups of water
Here’s what I did:
Heat a kadai/wok and add 2 tbsps of oil. Once the oil is heated, add the mustard and jeera. When it starts spluttering, add the asafoetida and finely chopped onions and saute until it turns soft and translucent. Add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, kasuri methi and toss for a few minutes until it loses the raw smell. Add the finely chopped cabbage and capsicum.
At this point, I had a bottle of peanut butter that was almost over. So I just poured a few spoons of water in it and swirled it around to catch the leftovers on the side of the bottle. I then poured it into the kadai and mixed it in well with the cabbage. Add salt, stir and leave it alone for a few minutes for the cabbage to cook.
While all of this is getting done, put a pot of water on to boil.
Once the cabbage feels like its almost cooked, add half a cup of roasted rava and give everything a good stir. Wait for the water to come to a simmer, and add enough water to cover everything by about an inch. Keep stirring until the hot water completely incorporates the rava/cabbage mixture and leave it on a low heat until the rava is completely cooked and it reaches the consistency that you like.
Take it off the heat and serve it with a tangy pickle or chutney. We had it with my Patti’s Indian gooseberry (kadaaranga) pickle for dinner. But today, I just a couple of spoons left over so I made some dosais and had it as a side-dish. It tasted great both ways! 🙂
Couple of notes:
I wanted the cabbage to be crunchy so I added the rava once it was almost cooked. It cooked along with the rava to a nice crunchy consistency. Soft cooked rava + slightly crunchy cabbage was a nice contrast in texture. I think if you cook until it becomes soft and then add the rava, you might end up with a much softer texture overall.
I also buy the ready-roasted rava these days. Saves the time that you take to roast plain rava. I also made my life even easier by tossing the vegetables into the food processor. It took just a few minutes to break it down into a fine dice.
Another thing that I’ve figured out is to use peanut butter as a substitute for fresh peanuts. I need to run to the Indian store each time I need fresh peanuts and they don’t even stay crispy that long. Peanut butter on the other hand is so easily available here and can be stored for a longer time. Since its just roasted pureed peanuts, it gives the same nutty taste (minus the crunch, of course!)
The entire meal took about 20-25 minutes to put together. I forgot to take pictures when we had dinner mostly because we were too hungry 😛 But I did take a picture today! Here’s what it looks like – served with dosai and molaga podi (chili powder) on the side.