Saturday, July 19, 2008

Quinoa Upma

By: Jennifer KumarQuinoa Upma

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1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tspn oil (vegetable or olive)
pinch mustard seeds
8-10 curry leaves
2-3 green chilies sliced in half lengthwise
1/8 cup finely diced onion
15-20 cashew pieces as per taste (optional)
1/8 cup each -corn kernels, peas, edamame
to taste salt

1. Heat oil in a wok.
2. Add mustard seeds.
3. When seeds pop add curry leaves, green chilies, onions and cashews. Stir until onions become translucent or cashews brown.
4. Add 1/2 cup water and add in veggies. I used frozen vegetables so I steamed them in this mixture until soft.
5. Add quinoa and 1 cup water. (Quinoa is cooked with twice the water as quinoa, but the extra water already added softened the veggies and cashews.)
6. Add salt to taste and keep stirring and cooking. Quinoa grains separate after cooking for some time, this means they have been cooked. Keep cooking and stirring until water has evaporated. Upma should be a dry stir fry mixture. Do not leave mixture alone, it should not burn and could easily burn if not watched and stirred continuously.

Serves 3-5.

Upma is the name of a variety of dishes with a similar consistency. Salt or uppa is the main ingredient. From our most educated guess upma comes from combining the (Tamil/Malayalam) words uppa (salt) and maavu (batter/mixture). There are different varieties of upma, and by the title of upma you know the main ingredient. In this case, it is quinoa. I have made the most famous upma with sooji (rava), in addition to vermicelli, bread and Buggani (Puffed Rice Upma). The other varieties are very similar except in how to prepare the main ingredient for the upma. I am sure there are other varieties, but I have yet to be introduced to them!

Notes on Quinoa: "Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and followed in third place by maize. In contemporary times this crop has come to be highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans." (source: Wikipedia)

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tags: quinoa, grains, upma, "upma varities", breakfast, "Indian breakfast", "south Indian breakfast"