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Categories: Breakfasts, Vegetarian

Vasanti's Upma

Vasanti's Upma
Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Breakfast cereal in the United States means something crunchy scooped out of a box from the supermarket, a bowl of granola or perhaps oatmeal, cooked in haste in the microwave. In Asia it's a different story. Breakfast cereal could be ... Read more

Total time: 20 minutes * Vegetarian | Serves 2
Note: Vasanti Jayaswal advises roasting the cream of wheat first because this reduces lumping. Some cooks like to add dried red chiles. If using these, add them along with the curry leaves. Brown mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal and curry leaves are available at Indian markets.
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking cream of wheat
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon split peeled urad dal
  • 1 teaspoon split chana dal
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4-inch piece ginger root, minced
  • Chopped or sliced serrano chile, to taste
  • 1/4 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed, or diced cooked fresh vegetables
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 cups water, divided
  • Cilantro leaves
  • 10 to 15 split cashews, lightly roasted, optional

Step 1Roast the cream of wheat in a heavy skillet over medium heat until light brown, stirring, about 8 to 10 minutes.Set aside.

Step 2Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat.Add the mustard seeds and fry until they pop, about 10 seconds. Add the urad and chana dals and cook until lightly browned, 1 minute. Add the curry leaves and stir until fragrant, then add the onion, ginger, chile and vegetables. Cook until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.Add the salt and 1 cup of water and boil 30 seconds. Add the remaining 1 cup of water and lower the heat to a simmer. Pour in the cream of wheat slowly to prevent lumping. Cook and stir constantly until done, 2 to 3 minutes. If too dry, add more water carefully. Do not let the water level come above the cream of wheat. The mixture should not be soggy.

Step 3Remove from the heat, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro leaves and nuts, if desired.

Each serving:
372 calories; 1,121 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 57 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams protein; 3.98 grams fiber.
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