Thursday, January 5, 2012

Recipe - Brown Upma

Brown Upma

This is yet another delicacy in my in-laws’ place relished by all my brothers-in-law. Just yesterday, when I mentioned to my mother-in-law that I was making it, she was recalling how Seetha Athai used to make it on a large scale when all the kids went home for the holidays.

According to my mother-in-law, nobody can beat Seetha Athai in making this dish. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet this great lady and for me my mother-in-law’s version is the best. I can give my self 25% compared to my mother-in-law’s Brown Upma.

Actually this is made in my mother’s place also, but called Puli Upma and definitely not as soft and crispy (yes, it can be soft and crispy at the same time!) as my in-laws’ side version!

Now for the recipe:


Rice flour (அரிசி மாவு) - 1 cup
Tamarind (புளி) - size of a gooseberry
Chilli powder (மிளகாய்ப்பொடி / காரப்பொடி) - 1 ½ tsp
Turmeric powder (மஞ்சள் பொடி) - ½ tsp
Asafoetida (பெருங்காயத் தூள்) ) - ½ tsp
Mustard  (கடுகு) - ½ tsp
Broken Urad daal  (உடைத்த உளுத்தம்பருப்பு) - 1 tsp
Red chilli (காய்ந்த மிளகாய்) - 1
Green chilli (பச்சை மிளகாய்) - 1
Curry leaves (கருவேப்பிலை)  - 2 sprigs
Oil (எண்ணெய்) - 5 tbsp
Salt  (உப்பு)   - to taste


Squeeze the tamarind and extract the juice. Take the rice flour in a wide vessel, add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, asafoetida, salt to this. Mix well and add the tamarind juice to this mix well to make it into consistency of a thick paste. This mixture should not be like idly/dosa batter, but thicker than this. Take a wide kadai, add 2 tbsp of oil, add the mustard, when it crackles, add the urad daal. When the urad daal turns golden brown, add the red chilli and green chilli broken into pieces and the curry leaves. Spoon the paste into the kadai and leave it like this for 2 minutes. In these two minutes, the mixture would have semi cooked in the bottom of the kadai. Now keep turning the mixture in intervals of 2-3 minutes. Check and add the balance oil little by little. After about 7-8 minutes, the mixture would have become small ball sized particles. Keep breaking these balls into smaller pieces with the help of the sharp edged spoon. It is very important to ensure that all the pieces become a uniform size. Keep sautéing at regular intervals and add a little more oil if necessary. Once the whole thing becomes soft above with a crispy coating on the base of the kadai, tasty brown upma is ready to eat!

This is a very yummy snack during rainy season and quite filling!


  1. I've had the privelege of eating both Seetha athai's version and Radhama's. Amma makes it too, and I naturally have a bias towards hers! Now I am tempted to try it this weekend, but this whole patiently-kelarify-every 2/3 minutes doesn't seem like my kind of thing. One thing I noticed however : from my memories of all 3 versions, this was usually a lot darker. Almost chocolate brown dark, and not light as you have it. Adhu ungaloda touch of adjust puli/manja podi ratio va ? :)

    1. :) yes shwetha, i put a little extra manjal podi!

  2. sounds delicious. Will try as soon as I can. I like the idea of mixing all the ingredients and then sauteing. This will ensure that its cooked evenly without lumps