Tag Archives: south indian

Easy Eggplant

easy eggplant recipe without onions or coconut

Easy Eggplant curry with idlis and spicy chili pickle

Alright, I’m just gonna say it. How can anyone not like eggplant?!?!

My favorite thing to make with eggplant is my mom’s South Indian style curry with coconut. And one of the dishes I’d love to get right one of these days is Ennegai (with a link to the good folks over at the Monsoon Spice blog). But, sadly, the doc has cut me off onions and coconut for  at least the next few months. In this period of mourning, I still need to eat eggplants.

So I came up with this simple variation of a curried vegetable dish. What I realized was that no onions actually meant less prep time! And you know what? My South Indian heart rejoiced when I had this eggplant dish for lunch with freshly steamed idlis and a side of green chili pickle. It hit the spot.

Among other foods, I avoid most ingredients on the FODMAP (a diet the fructose intolerance have to follow) list. If you want to make this dish 100% FODMAP compatible, just eliminate the lentils.

Easy Eggplant

serves 3-4

  • 1.5 lb eggplant (I used the small Indian eggplants but you can use the big kind)
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons urud dal (split black lentils, optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons sambhar powder (or curry blend)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Cut the eggplants into roughly 2 inch long and 1/2 inch wide pieces. If you’re doing this ahead of time, place in a pot of water so they don’t brown.

Heat the oil in a large wok or pan over medium heat. When you see ripples on the surface of the oil, throw in a mustard seed. If it sizzles, the oil is hot.

Sizzle the mustard seeds for 5 seconds or till they start popping. Stir in the curry leaves, chilis and urud dal and let them sizzle for 10 seconds. Be careful, the oil may splatter. Add the garlic, eggplant, turmeric and sambhar powder and cook for 2 minutes while stirring frequently. If anything starts sticking to the pan, add more oil.

Add a cup of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes or till the eggplant is soft and cooked.

Add salt and lime juice to taste.

Serve with idlis or rice.

yummy eggplant

Yummy eggplant

easy eggplant

Easy Eggplant



Filed under India, Recipe

Sambhar – South Indian Lentil Curry

sambhar south indian lentil curry with vegetables

Sambhar, a hearty lentil curry

Do you have food allergies or intolerances? When you first hear about them, you feel really sad to have to cut out something you love to eat. And you wonder how you can do without. Well, I think when you don’t have a choice, you find a way to continue to eat food that tastes great and is nourishing.

I’ve mentioned my food allergies before. I now have fructose intolerance to add to that list and can’t eat onions, tomatoes or coconut anymore. If you know anything about Indian food, you know how often these are used. I’m following a FODMAP diet and have also eliminated soy, dairy, gluten, lima beans, and kidney beans. So I’ve been wondering what to eat lately and very importantly, what to blog about!

Do you have food allergies? How have you adapted your cooking to your lifestyle? I know completely changing your diet can be a huge challenge. And to make sure that what you eat is tasty and varied. To help those of you with food allergies, I’ve been trying to remember to tag recipes with allergy information where applicable. You can do a search on the left.

That brings me to today’s post. Ever had dosa or idlis in a South Indian restaurant? The lentil curry that always comes on the side is called Sambhar. Now I think it’s a delicious dish in it’s own right and can be eaten as a main meal. The best part is that you can easily make 2 or 3 times the recipe and have a big pot to last you all week. It’s one of those rare curries that I don’t get tired of easily. I made this sambhar without onion but still included tomatoes and green beans (also on the FODMAP list). But they were easy enough to pick out.

The other thing I love about sambhar is that it is so flexible. You can eat it with rice or other grains like millet. We often cook pearl millet instead of rice at home. You can also eat it by itself as soup. It’s delicious with a spicy Indian pickle on the side or with papadum.


typical vegetables for sambhar

Typical vegetables used for sambhar

cooking the sambhar vegetables

Cooking the sambhar vegetables 

Serves 4

  • 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 dry red chilis
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon asafetida
  • 10 curry leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons sambhar powder (buy in Indian store or see below)
  • 1 scant teaspoon tamarind extract, dissolved in 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup vegetables (3 of any of green beans, potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, tomato, etc), cut to 1 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Cilantro to garnish

Rinse the toor dal thrice. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or till the lentils are soft and fully cooked.  Mash the lentils with a masher or large spoon.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a thick bottomed pot. When you see ripples on the surface of the oil, throw in a mustard seed. If it sizzles, the oil is hot enough. Sizzle the whole spices just for 5-10 seconds before adding the turmeric, sambhar powder, and tamarind extract in water. Stir well.

Add the vegetables, salt and enough water to just cover them. Bring to a boil, and simmer covered on low for 10 minutes or till the vegetables are cooked. Add water to just cover the vegetables if needed.

Transfer the vegetables to the pot in which you cooked the toor dal. Mix well. Simmer on low for 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice.

Sambhar Powder 

  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons urud dal (dehusked, split black lentils)
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • ½ tablespoon black peppercorn
  • ½ tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 20 curry leaves
  • 10 red chilis

Dry roast the whole spices and urud dal for 3 minutes on medium low heat. Grind to a fine powder in a spice blender along with the turmeric and asafetida.

a pot of sambhar

A pot of sambhar


Filed under India, Recipe

My Trip to India

So many travel to India to discover themselves through meditation. I was born in India and didn’t leave till I was 17. As some of you may remember, I went to India last December and discovery or rather re-discovery, especially of my culinary roots was top of my mind. I thought a six week trip would be long enough. When it was time to leave though, I was very tempted to extend my stay for another month. There were so many things I still wanted to do and learn. For example, there was a week long coffee tasting and marketing course that was starting the day after my flight. I had to skip a trip to Chennai for cooking lessons in order to accommodate a few days relaxing in Goa. And with all the hustle and bustle of getting around in a big city like Bangalore, I didn’t have as much time to go shopping for kitchen tools as I would have liked (nor luggage space really, but that’s a different point). I’d also really wanted to spend some time on rural farms. Instead, I stuck to my plans and headed back to Seattle.

Perhaps it was the snow storm that hit the day after we got back, but the hectic pace of India that I’d been complaining to everyone about when I was there, suddenly seemed vibrant and exciting rather than annoying and hassle filled.  Rather than family offering me food all the time, I had to go shopping and cook. There was a void. It took about a week to get over the jetlag but about a month to get over the mindlag.

I regret not having had a longer time to spend in India, but I know what things I’ll be focusing on for my next trip. In the meantime, I realized that I hadn’t pulled together as many blog posts of my trip as I had wanted to! Here’s a start. These are all the posts related to my trip. I do have more video material that I haven’t processed due to technical issues. Here’s hoping I can afford to buy a new laptop soon and get more cooking videos completed soon!

Bangalore City Market

Heaps of kumkum and turmeric at the Bangalore City Market

Romantic Red Hills in the Nilgiris

Red Hills Guest House, Ooty

How Seven Beans Changed the World: Indian Coffee Part 1

The Story of Indian Coffee

The Story of Indian Coffee

From Bush to Bean: Indian Coffee Part 2

Coffee Harvesting

Coffee Harvesting

Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Curry

Mangalore pineapple curry

A Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Curry from the West Coast of India

An Afternoon with Sabudana

Sabudana Khichdi

Learning How to Make Sabudana Khichdi

The Third Most Expensive Spice in the World

Cardamom: The third most expensive spice in the world

Cardamom: The third most expensive spice in the world

Swiss Chard and Yogurt Curry Sauce

swiss chard and yogurt curry sauce

Swiss chard in a Mangalore style “Thambli” or Yogurt Curry Sauce

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South Indian Curried Eggplant with a Spicy Coconut Gravy

This post has been a long time in coming.  I’ve made this a few times for friends and they’ve been asking for the recipe. This eggplant dish with a coconut gravy was something my mom made often when I was a kid.

South Indian eggplant curry with a spicy coconut gravy

And as I write this, I’m reminded of a recent article on CHOW titled 9 Words the Food Industry Killed. ‘Local’, ‘organic’ and ‘artisan’ made it on the list, understandably. ‘Mom’ is also on the list. While I agreed with most of the author’s argument, this point rankled with me at first. Until I realized I’d misunderstood the point.

The fast food movement, like many other industries I might point out, uses the image of mothers in ads to persuade people to buy something. And consumers, hello that’s us, we buy it. In a world where many moms are so busy that ‘food’ from McDonalds has become part of the family tradition, that’s all the more reason to celebrate mothers who took the time to hand down family recipes.  I never tire of reading posts from bloggers whose grandmothers were their biggest foodie inspiration. In my experience, most people consider their mom’s cooking to be the best. So keep putting out those recipes for flaky pie crusts from your grandma or your aunt’s out-of-this-world biryani. I’m a huge fan.

Of course, the day I see a treasured recipe that has been in the family for generations and calls for Hamburger Helper, will be the day I eat my words.

In the meantime, this recipe is from my mom. Of course, mine never comes out as good as hers. But I make it anyway. And it tastes good. And who knows, maybe one day, I will learn how to make it taste like the gold standard.

So I hope you’ll read on, cook the eggplant with coconut gravy and share this post with friends. Mom thinks it’s good!

The masala can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen. Because there are many ingredients involved, I’d recommend making a big batch and using as needed.

This dish is a quintessential way of making ‘curries’ from South India, especially the state of Karnataka. Unlike North Indian curries, different spices are used and the gravy is made separately and added to the curried vegetable. The local name for this curried eggplant recipe is Badnekayi Palya. Except for the urud dal and fenugreek seeds that I purchased from the Indian grocery store, all other ingredients came from my neighborhood supermarket.

Readily available dessicated coconut and eggplant used in dish

Dry roasting the spices and coconut

Making the masala

Recipe – Serves 4


To Dry Roast

  • 1-2 dry red chili, stalks removed and cut up into smaller pieces
  • ½ cup dessicated, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon white poppy seeds (can substitute black)
  • 2 teaspoons split black lentils (urud dal) or use any other dehusked lentils
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)

To Grind

  • 1 teaspoon jaggery or brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon tamarind juice (if you can’t find it, substitute 2 teaspoons lemon juice)
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 2 small green thai chilis or jalapenos
  • ½ cup water


  • 1 Eggplant, cut into 2 inch x ½ inch spears
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons high heat oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 5-10 curry leaves

In a skillet heated to medium low, dry roast the spices for 5 minutes. Blend the roasted spices with the remaining ingredients to be ground.

Heat 4 tablespoons high heat oil in the same skillet over medium high heat till the oil starts shimmering. Throw in a mustard seed and if it sizzles, the oil is hot enough to proceed. Sizzle the mustard seeds till they start spluttering.

Add curry leaves and let them fry for 5 seconds before adding the onions. Saute the onions till slightly brown and then add the garlic and eggplant. The eggplant pieces will soak up a lot of oil. If they start sticking to the skillet, add a bit more oil.

Sauté the eggplant for 5 minutes or till the pieces start softening. Add the blended gravy. Lower the heat to medium low. Cover the skillet and cook for 15 minutes.

Salt to taste. Add lime juice if desired.

Serve with rice, dosas or ragi rottis!

Badnekayi palya or South Indian curried eggplant with coconut gravy served with ragi rotti!


Filed under India, Recipe

Puri Saagu – a Dish Fit for the Guests!

If you’re trying to go vegetarian or eat less meat, you could figure out meat substitutions for what you normally eat. Or, and I prefer this, you could make dishes that are meant to be vegetarian. And South Indian cuisines have so many vegetarian dishes to offer. And this is one of those dishes that you barely realize is vegetarian! Um vegan in fact. I guarantee that you will not miss the meat.

I want to share with you Puri Saagu (or Poori Sagu) today which was one of my favorite dishes growing up. My mom didn’t make puris quite as often as we would have liked, because they are fried. So puris were reserved for weekends or special occasions like when guests visited.

Sagu, South Indian vegetable curry

Saagu is a very South Indian curry with a base that is made separately and then cooked together with the vegetables. The ‘base’ is called a masala and is thickened by coconut and lentils. This is not a dish at your typical Indian restaurant which makes it even more special.

Vegetables for sagu, we used beans, carrots, peas

Ingredients for masala


1.5 cup of vegetables (diced green bell pepper, shelled peas, carrots, diced potatoes, green beans)
½ yellow onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
10 fresh curry leaves (online source)
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons salt or to taste

Masala base

½ cup grated coconut or 1 cup dessicated, unsweetened coconut flakes (if using dessicated, rehydrate in warm water for 10 minutes)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3 tablespoons chana dal (You can try substituting with 2 tablepoons chickpea flour. Roast in a pan on low heat for 2-3 minutes)
2 teaspoons white poppy seeds (optional)
3 thai green chilis, ends cut
1 teaspoon tamarind paste (or juice of ½ lime)
Water to blend

Boiling vegetables - Carrots, potatoes, beans, peas

Sagu - smells just right!

Boil the prepared vegetables using enough water to cover the vegetables plus 1/4 inch, for 6-7 minutes or till they are almost cooked.
Dry roast the masala ingredients over medium heat for 3 minutes or till the chana dal is slightly brown.
Blend with ½ cup water or enough to make the blender work.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or till a mustard seed thrown in starts to sizzle.
Sizzle the mustard seeds for 10 seconds or till they start spluttering (it helps to have a cover handly) and then add the curry leaves for another 5 seconds.
Stir fry the onions for 5 minutes or till slightly brown.
Add the blended masala to the pot and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the cooked vegetables along with the water they boiled in.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. You can start cooking the puris at this time.
Add salt to taste.

Puris (or pooris)

Rustic Puris

2 cups unbleached whole wheat flour + 1/3 cup for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup oil or enough to fry puris in

Make a dough starting with 1/3 cup water and adding more as necessary.
Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 10 minutes or till the last steps of the sagu.
Divide the dough into 8 balls.
Dust them and your work surface with a bit of flour.
Roll out each ball into a circle that is a couple of millimeters thick. Keep covered to prevent them from drying out.
Fill a small frying pan with vegetable oil up to half an inch. (Using a larger pan means you will need to fill it with more oil)
Heat over medium high till the oil just starts smoking.
Ever so gently slide a puri into the hot oil (please be careful with this step!)
With a slotted spoon, pat the topside of the puri – this helps it puff up, a characteristic that most people desire. Cook for 30 seconds on both sides or till golden brown.
Place the cooked puri on 3 layers of paper towels to soak up excess oil.
Cook all your puris this way keeping in mind that you may have to adjust the heat up and down. If the oil starts smoking a lot, turn down the heat. If the puris are taking too long to cook, turn up the heat again.

Patting the puri to make it puff up

A puffed puri - isn't that pretty!


Filed under India, Recipe

Spices: Mustard Seeds

Darius, the King of Persia famously sent a box filled with sesame seeds and among them, a lone gem, to Alexander the Great. With the sesame seeds, Darius threatens Alexander with his large number of troops. Alexander, unperturbed, sends a bag of mustard seeds. After a soldier, ordered to eat the mustard seeds, spits them out, Darius finds out that the mustard seeds are much more potent in flavor than sesame seeds. Alexander goes on to wipe out Darius’ army with Darius narrowly escaping with his life.

The mustard seeds are native to Eurasia and have been in use for at least 5000 years. There are even mentions of the mustard seed in the Bible and Buddhist parables.These little mustard seeds don’t have much aroma when you smell them, but bite into them, and you will be hit with a pungent fiery flavor. The essential oil of mustard is very potent indeed but being volatile, its potency is lost rapidly.

Many Indian recipes call for mustard. Only some specify what you really need: black mustard seeds. Not the yellow condiment you put on your hot dog.

black mustard seeds vs yellow mustard seeds

There are three kinds of mustard seeds – black, brown and yellow. The black and brown are very similar in appearance and flavor though black mustard seeds are slightly sharper. The yellow mustard is more mellow and is what is normally used in the condiment. These varieties though come from different plants:

  • Black – Brassica nigra
  • Brown – Brassica juncea
  • Yellow – Sinapsis alba

Black or brown mustard seeds are used whole in Indian cooking, especially in South Indian cooking. Many curries and vegetables are flavored with oil tempered with mustard seeds, curry leaves, green chilis and sometimes asafetida. Mustard powder is rarely used in Indian cooking with the exception of pickles. In eastern India, in Bengal, mustard paste is frequently used in preparing fish dishes like shorshe machh (mustard fish).

Apart from its usefulness in flavoring, mustard has many health properties. It is a good source of selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. It is an anti-inflammatory and is also said to speed up the body’s metabolism.

Looking for  recipes that use black mustard seeds?

Recipe kits that already contain black mustard seeds:

black mustard seeds are more pungent than yellow mustard seeds


Filed under India, Spices

Expert tips for making the perfect dosa batter

Veena's Market Dosa kit (Picture by Christopher Bachmann)

If you’ve ever tried to make your own dosa (South Indian savory crepes made with rice and lentils) batter, you know that it is really hard to get them nice and crisp like in the restaurants. It is possible but takes some time, patience and experimentation. I recently came across this very informative blog post by Sala Kannan of Veggie Belly on how to make the perfect batter for dosas and idlis (South Indian rice cakes) and had to share. I found the FAQ very helpful.


Filed under India, Recipe

Curried mung beans

If you’ve ever been to a temple in India, you may remember being offered ‘blessed food’ or prasadam. Prasadam or prasad is often laddu or another sweet but can also be savory. Some temples are so well known for their prasad that I suspect some ‘devotees’ are really after the food. They’ve checked their offline version of Yelp and who can blame them? Those temple cooks can be really good!

One of my favorite foods to receive was curried mung beans. This is also a dish that is often served as a side at homes. While the spices add flavor, the mung beans and shredded coconut provide texture making this a great side dish to eat with rice and Daal.

All you need are a few spices and pantry items. You could also make this with black-eyed peas or chickpeas, both available canned. See notes.

Serves 4


  • 1 cup mung beans, soaked in 3 cups of water overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small onion, diced (roughly 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 green chili, diced (optional, de-seeding helps reduce the heat)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 5-10 curry leaves
  • Pinch asafoetida
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Roughly 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons lime juice (fresh is best)


  1. Place the soaked mung beans in a pot with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes or till the mung beans are cooked and slightly mushy.
  2. In the meantime, prep the remaining ingredients and have all the spices ready to use.
  3. If you are using frozen coconut, thaw to room temperature. If using desiccated coconut, re-hydrate in 1/2 cup warm water for 5 minutes.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan or skillet over medium high heat. The oil is hot enough if you throw in a mustard seed and it sizzles.
  5. Carefully add the mustard seeds to the hot oil and wait a few seconds or till the seeds start spluttering. Add the curry leaves and asafoetida.
  6. After 10 seconds, add the green chili and diced onion. Cook for a few minutes while stirring occasionally till the onion is translucent.
  7. Add the cooked mung beans, cilantro, shredded coconut, salt and lime juice. Mix well and taste. Add more salt / lime juice if you like.
  8. Serve as a salad or with rotis, chapatis, toasted tortillas. My favorite way to eat this is with rice, yogurt and mango pickle.


Soaking, rinsing and draining  any dried legumes removes some of the water-soluble carbohydrates that are typically hard to digest. You can  substitute 2 cans of either black-eyed peas or chickpeas (or one each). Rinse and drain before adding in step 7.


Filed under India, Recipe

Spices – Devil’s Dung

A pinch of asafetida is enough

Yes that’s one of the names for it. Asafetida, as it is normally called, is derived from the dried resin of a rhizome. Most people describe the smell of this spice as pungent and unpleasant. Think of asafetida as the frog prince. One kiss with hot oil and the spice blossoms, exuding not only the combined flavors of onion and garlic but also something more, something mysterious to a dish. If you’ve ever had South Indian food and tried to recreate it at home without using asafetida, your dish probably tasted great but not quite what you had at the restaurant.

The aroma of powdered asafetida is less strong than that of the resin and will deteriorate after a year or so. The resin form on the other hand will last forever.

Asafetida is native to Persia (Iran) and is used in that cuisine as well. Gernod Katzer’s spices pages states that asafetida was brought to Europe as early as Alexander the Great’s time. Devil’s Dung is actually a translation of the German and French names for this spice.

You might have noticed that many Indian recipes that include lentils call for this spice. Indian recipes may also refer to asafetida as hing. Asafetida not only adds a burst of flavor but also has many health properties. It reduces bacterial build up in the intestine aiding in digestion of foods like lentils. It is also reported to be anti-viral.

Commercially available asafetida includes the powdered resin stabilized with gum, rice flour or wheat and possibly other ingredients as well (see ingredient list in the picture below). If you suffer from celiac disease, please check the ingredients as the spice used may not be gluten-free. The resin form is gluten-free but is much harder to find.

One small kiss is all it took for the frog to become a prince. So I hope you will give asafetida a try especially if you are cooking with lentils and vegetables. Who knows, your dish may get transformed! Just remember that a pinch is all it takes.

None of the kits sold on Veena’s Market use asafetida to ensure that our kits remain free of gluten ingredients. If you would like to purchase this spice, follow this link and scroll down for a couple of options.

Hing or asafetida (contains gluten)


Filed under General, India, Spices

Upma – South Indian Soul Food

Upma or uppittu

The intoxicating smell of fresh curry leaves in hot oil wafted around corners and into the bedroom where I was trying to sleep off the flu but was instead tired and cranky. The aroma of freshly roasted semolina hung around the kitchen inviting me to peek in. I just had to get out of bed and go get the camera. It was right after Christmas. I was at my mom’s and she had been busy cooking.

My mom’s ‘upma’ (also known as uppittu in Kannada, my mother tongue) is one of those memory triggering foods. Others made their upma too soft and mushy. Her’s always had a much more interesting texture. The lentils in the dish get crunchy when fried in oil and add greatly to the texture. But for some reason, my brother didn’t like anything crunchy. So if mom added the lentils, he didn’t like it and if she didn’t add them, I complained! Poor mom. This time though, he said it was OK (I asked nicely) which was very nice of him. We fought over the silliest things when we were kids!

I dug in eagerly, savoring the flavors and appreciating the crunchiness of the lentils contrasted with the moistness of the semolina. I’m sure the upma helped me get over the flu. Upma though is great anytime whether you’re ill or not. It is truly South Indian soul food.

There are many upma recipes online but I wanted to share my mom’s recipe as a couple of things have been simplified. The ingredients can be found in an Indian or Asian grocery store. Many of them can also be found at Whole Foods.

My mom was happy to share her recipe for upma with you. Here it is. I hope you get to make it sometime soon!


2 cups upma semolina (can use couscous instead, both are made from durum wheat but the couscous grains are larger and processed slightly differently)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal (split skinless black lentils)
1 teaspoon chana dal (split chickpeas)
5-10 fresh curry leaves
2-3 green chilies (optional and to your taste), chopped
½ onion thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots mix (can also use edamame or grated carrots)
4 cups water (3 if using couscous)
¼ cup grated unsweetened coconut (if dessicated, rehydrate in 1/3 cup warm water for 10 minutes)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (or to taste)

Heat the water over medium heat high and bring to a boil.  Add the peas and carrots. Let cook for 2-3 minutes. While waiting for the water to boil, proceed to the next step.

Heat the oil in a large skillet (should hold the semolina and the water) over medium heat. You know the oil is hot if you drop in a mustard seed and it sizzles.

Add the mustard seeds and wait 5 seconds or till they start crackling.

Add the curry leaves, urud dal and chilies and stir constantly to prevent from burning. Saute for 10 minutes.

Add onion and sauté till translucent plus another minute

Then add the semolina or couscous. Fold in with the oil and spices and roast for two minutes.

Pour in the boiling water with the cooked peas and carrots. Stir to break up any lumps that may form.

The semolina should be cooked in 2-3 minutes. The couscous may take a minute longer.

Add salt and squeeze lime to taste. Mix in the grated coconut.

Serve hot with yogurt onthe side. You can  mix the upma with yogurt if it is too spicy.

Savory semolina

Enjoy and feel good!



Filed under India, Recipe