Saturday, 16 January 2010


Mexican food. I do miss you. Sadly I dont think I will be seeing any of your true forms here in London. This is very hard for me.
Guess I will have to start some importation of goods.

What I wouldnt do for a mole negra right now.

I can has Topolobampo?

Thursday, 7 January 2010


UPMA - The Risotto of Kerala

I love Indian food. I love Italian food. I love risotto. Naturally I dig Upma. All the cool kids do.

Upma is as easy a translation of rissoto into the ingredient sphere of southern Indian food as you could hope for. The Abborio rice is replaced with sooji (semolina or even Cream of Wheat), the butter and Parmesan added at the end replaced by ghee and fresh chopped coriander.

Im not going to include a recipe here rather describe the process because, like risotto, Upma is endlessly variable depending on what you have and what you prefer. 

Its starts just like a (can you guess?) .... risotto yes! ...only slightly modified. So with any Indian dish you begin with oil or ghee and temper it (tarka) with spices. It being a southern Indian recipe think lots of mustard seeds, asefetida, raw split yellow dal or raw rice (yes as a seasoning) and the ALL MIGHTY CURRY LEAVES. Next, in with the onions and a bit of garlic if you want and fry them down until soft in ghee or groundnut oil. I always add either chopped cashews or almonds in with the onions as well, you can choose to omit or not. After the onions have fried a bit you add your main vegetable (one thing you dont see in Upma is meat so this is for the vegetarians). I like peas with either mushrooms or aubergine (eggplants).
------OH - at this point it is important to have a kettle (or at least 4 cups) full of simmering water at hand as you will need it soon. See - just like risotto.-----------
Cook until veggies are soft yet still some what firm to the bite. Next add in your semolina. I use a cup or a bit less of regular sooji or semolina medium to coarse ground. Stir this in until it is covered in the oils and appears shiny and almost translucent.
++++ You could add some tomatoes at this point if you so desired. I prefer them as a fresh topping chopped. +++++++
Next you begin to add in the very hot water (should have just been boiled), a bit at a time, stirring constantly. As you add water, you stir the mixture until the semolina absorbs all of the water you added. Then add more once the last bit has been soaked up. Keep doing this for a while. After you have gone through about 2 cups of water give it a taste. If it is a bit firm and dry keep adding water in this manner. You will probably go through 3 cups before it is done.

Then turn off heat and top with chopped coriander.
You can also top with chopped tomato, thinly sliced red onion, whatever.

I never use a recipe for this dish. Its all about constantly stirring and testing your mixture until its at your liking.

There are recipes out there though. If you want one now just google "upma recipe".