Growing up, I was not hot for arisi upma. But, like so many other foods, I now appreciate the humbleness and simplicity of this dish. Back in the days, this upma is prepared in a bronze pot (vengala paanai). The slightly burnt upma stuck to the bottom of the pot is to die for. Fast forward to present, this is made in a kadai, pressure cooker or rice cooker. I find the rice cooker version easy. Switch on the cooker and dinner is ready in 20 mintues.
Back in India, my mom would visit the flour mill once a month, give the operator at the mill a bag of rice and make a batch of rice flour and another batch of rice rava. But here, in the city where I live, there is no flour mill that I know of. But when I set off to make some rice rava, most of it becomes flour. Despaired, I gave up making rice rava upma.
But this time when I visited India, I observed my MIL soaking her rice before grinding. The soaked rice is not only easy to work with, but also yields uniform rava instead of turning into flour. Now, am back into action :).IngredientsRaw rice – 1 cup
Toor dal – 1 fistful
Coconut – 1/3 cup, grated
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Chana dal – 1 tsp
Pepper – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Red chillies – 4 to 6
Curry leaves - few
Oil – 1 tbspMethod
Wash rice and dal together thrice and drain the water completely. Leave it for 20-30 minutes. Take this mixture in a food processor/mixie and pulse for 2 or 3 times. The rice should be coarsely ground, but not as fine as rava (semolina). This will yield about 1¼ cups of rice rava which serves two.
Transfer the ground rice to a rice cooker. In a seasoning pan, heat oil, splutter mustard seeds. Add chana dal, urad dal, red chillies, pepper, cumin seeds and curry leaves, in that order. When dal becomes brown, add this seasoning mixture to rice. Also add coconut, salt and 2½ cups of water. Mix well and turn the rice cooker switch on. When done, fluff the rice, let rest for 5 minutes and serve with a drizzle of coconut oil, if desired.
IMHO, arisi upma is best had with sambar, followed by gothsu. I make sure there is left-over sambar whenever I make this upma for dinner. Today, I served it with onion sambar and coconut+coriander leaves chutney.
Recently, I came across idli rava in Indian stores. Though I have never tried it, I believe it may work well in this recipe. I like making my own rice rava, so that I can control how big I want it to be. Also, toor dal in the above recipe is optional, if you want a totally white upma.
Here are some guidelines for using water in various upma. Of course, the ratio depends on the hardness of the water you use.Rice rava upma – 1 cup of rice rava : 2 cups of water
Rava/Sooji upma – 1 cup of rava : 1½ cups of water
Vermicelli upma – 1 cup of vermicelli : 1 cup of water