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Masala Upma (called Kharabhaat in Karnataka)

Number of servings: 4

This dish is a tasty variation to the regular upma. You can make this when you invite special guests for breakfast or tea. In Bangalore, most south indian restaurants serve what is known as Kharabhaat/Chow Chow bhaat combination. Chow chow bhaat is also called Kesari bhaat or just kesari and is a sweet dish made of sooji or semolina. Masala upma or Kharabhaat is normally served along with cocunut chutney on the side. I made a large quantity of this dish for a charity lunch once and when I looked at how much I had made I thought to myself that there was going to be a lot of leftovers. But half way through the charity lunch all of it was over and I had to come back home to make a second batch!  

List of ingredients:
3 cups semolina(rava/sooji)  
5 tbsp oil  
2 cups chopped vegetables (green beans, carrots, peas)  
1 tsp mustard seeds  
1/2 tsp urad dal  
10 in number curry leaves  
1/4 tsp elaichi or cardamom  
4 in number cloves (laung)  
1 inch cinnamon stick (dal chini)  
2 in number onions (chopped fine)  
4 in number green chillies (slit lengthwise)  
2 in number tomatoes (chopped into cubes)  
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste  
2 tbsp fresh cocunut (ground into a paste with a little water)  
1 tsp red chilli powder  
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)  
1 tbsp garam masala powder (see method for making garam masala powder below)  
3 tbsp curds (yogurt)  
3 tbsp chopped mint leaves  
1 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves  
1 tsp salt (or to taste)  
For the garam masala powder:
1/2 cup cumin seeds (jeera)  
1/2 cup dhaniya seeds (coriander seeds)  
3 tbsp khus khus (poppy seeds)  
1/2 tsp cloves  
2 inches cinnamon sick (dal chini)  
1 tsp nutmeg (jaiphal)  
4 tbsp black pepper  

Cooking procedure
Method: To make the garam masala powder - Roast all the above ingredients for the garam masala separately without any oil. Combine all together and grind in a mixer or a blender until it is a smooth powder. Store in an air-tight container.

To make the Masala Upma: Boil the vegetables until 3/4 th cooked in water. Drain the water and keep aside. First fry Suji/Rava/Semolina in about 2 tsp of oil in a oan until light brown. Remove and set aside. In a pan, heat the remaining oil. Add the mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves, cumin seeds, elaichi, cloves and dal chini for about 3 minutes. Add chopped onions and saute until golden brown. Then add the chopped green chillies, chopped tomatoes and ginger-garlic paste. Saute for about 6 minutes. Then add the fresh coconut paste and mix well. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, 1 tbsp garam masala powder (as made above) and curds and mix well. Add chopped mint leaves and cilantro/coriander leaves and mix. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the boiled vegetables and salt and mix well. Add water (use the ratio 1 cup semolina/rava/suji to 2 cups water). Add more salt to taste if needed. Mix well. Allow the water to start boiling. Then add the roasted suji slowly stirring continously (if you do not do this the suji will form lumps). Mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook until well cooked and all water is evaporated. Garnish with some more chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with coconut chutney.
Storage tips:
Tastes best when fresh. If refrigerated, re-heat before serving.
Any additional information:
The garam masala powder made above can be used in other gravy dishes, curries and pulav or biryani dishes.

Other recipes that go well with this one: Avakaya Pachhadi
Spicy Tomato Kurma
Capsicum (Bell Pepper) Chutney
Peanut Chutney
Cabbage Pickle
Masala Sambar
Medhu Vada (Vada made of washed black gram)

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