Upma is often treated as a humble breakfast. Is it because it is easy to prepare, quick and requires no fuss as the ingredients are almost always available?

When I make upma it is not by default but because I love it. It is not usually dressed up and presented and I wanted to change all this and so up there, you see my 'upma' in its glorious avtaar. It is my favourite breakfast, and when made rightly it tastes great too!

Here's how my mum passed it to me and the way I love it:
Ingredients: (Serves 5)

For the seasoning:
Vegetable oil - 2 tbsp.
Mustard seeds / Rai - 1 tsp.
Chana dal - 1 tsp.
Ginger - 1inch (Chopped fine)
Green chillies - 2 (Chopped fine or slit lengthwise)
Hing/asafoetida - 1/4tsp.
Curry leaves - 1 stem (Clean and chop the leaves)
Halved cashewnuts - 10 to 12nos.

After seasoning:
Bombay rava/fine semolina - 1 and 1/2 cups (Roasted till its aroma is released)
Water - 3 cups (Twice the amount of rava)
Tomatoes - 1 medium (Chopped roughly)
Onions - 1 medium (Chopped fine)

Coriander - 8 to 10 stems (Cleaned and chopped)

1. Heat the oil. Season with rai. Add ginger, chillies, hing, chana dal, curry leaves and cashewnuts and fry till the chana dal and cashewnuts try slightly brown.

2. Add the chopped onions and fry till transparent. Add tomatoes and salt and fry for a minute.

3. Add the water and salt to taste and let it come to a boil. Pour in the rawa gently in small amounts while still stirring to avoid lumps. Alternatively, you may add the rawa to the tomatoes, and pour boiled, salted water while stirring.

4. Put on the lid and cook on slow fire for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove lid and mix the ingredients slightly. The upma is ready to be eaten.

5. I served it using a 'shira' mould and pressed one of the cashews on the top along with a sprig of coriander to dress it up.

The upma should feel grainy and soft when cut with a spoon, not soggy, not lumpy, not dry.

If the upma is
- soggy - It indicates that the water is too much;
- hard - the water is too little or the rava is not roasted well;
- lumpy - the rava was not stirred properly when the water was poured;
- dry - the water may be less or rava may be roasted to browning point.

Who says upma is humble? It is actually a princess in a flowing gown!

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