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My favorite Upma bread » Simple and Healthy Recipe! ✅

You may know Upma as a South Indian breakfast staple, but I’m here to tell you that it’s so much more. Upma is a state of mind. The refrain is simple: carbohydrates of your choice, roasted with ghee floral spices, then cooked with assorted greens and curry leaves and drizzled with tomato sauce. In South India, the preferred carbohydrate is usually roasted semolina, thickened into a creamy, salty porridge. But it can also be seviya (wheat noodles), poha (mashed rice), pori (puffed rice), sago, spaghetti (if you’re from my family)… the list goes on. That said, my favorite type of upma, and by the way the one that can be made the fastest, is made with bread.

Upma bread is made in two contrasting ways. In the first version, the sautéed cubes are seasoned with juicy fresh tomatoes, onions and spices, to create a crisp but not dry result; in the second version, the bread cubes are soaked in buttermilk before being sautéed with a variety of vegetables and spices, resulting in a texture that can be described as “puddingy” and “pleasantly squishy,” but that’s not it would be giving him enough credit. This version captures the best of both, with wok-toasted crusty bread wrapped in a spicy yogurt sauce to moisten it just enough, all topped with crispy vegetables and fried curry leaves. Add a fried egg for a little more heft, squeeze on some ketchup (or ketchup masala, if that’s your thing), find inner peace. —Toast Yesterday

ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or neutral oil over high heat, divided

  • 4 slices sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews

  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon urad dal (broken white lentils)

  • 1 pinch of asafetida

  • 1 large shallot or small red onion, diced

  • 1 small green bell pepper or half a large green bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 5 to 6 fresh curry leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 cup small cauliflower florets

  • 1/4 cup frozen peas

  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt, thinned with 1 to 2 teaspoons of water so it’s pourable

  • 1/4 Cup of coriander, stems and leaves coarsely chopped, to decorate

  • 2 fried eggs, to serve (optional)

Indications
  1. In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the ghee or oil and heat until shimmering.

  2. Add the diced bread and raw cashews to the pan and toast them in the oil until crisp and golden, shaking the pan frequently and turning the bread so it doesn’t burn. It will take 5-6 minutes. Remove the toast and cashews and set them aside (don’t worry if the bread doesn’t look completely toasty, it will still crisp up as it cools).

  3. Lower the heat to medium and add the second tablespoon of cooking fat to the skillet, heating until shimmering. Add the mustard seeds, urad dal, and asafetida and shake the pan vigorously to coat everything with the fat. Within 20-30 seconds, the seeds will burst and the dal will turn a deep golden brown. (Watch carefully during this step so your spices don’t burn and turn bitter!)

  4. At this point add the onions, chilli, salt, turmeric and curry leaves and mix to combine; increase heat to medium-high and cook until onions soften and turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower florets and stir, cooking an additional 3 to 5 minutes until soft and completely coated with the onion-spice mixture.

  5. Add the bread and reserved cashews to the skillet with the vegetables and toss together, making sure the onion and cauliflower mixture is evenly dispersed with the bread; cook together for about a minute more. Add the peas and cook for another minute. Carefully pour the yogurt over the upma and mix to combine so that the bread and vegetables are completely covered; Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring only occasionally, so that the upma browns and crisps again, helped along with the lactose sugar in the yogurt.

  6. Once the upma is crispy to your desired consistency, divide into bowls and serve with chopped cilantro and a fried egg if you like (I like that).

Brinda is the Director of Content for Food52, where she oversees all site content at Food52 and Home52. She likes chewy Neapolitan pizza, stinky cheese of all kinds, and anything flavored with tahini. Brinda lives in Brooklyn with 18 plants and at least one foster pup (sometimes more). Find her at @brindayesterday on Twitter and Instagram.

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