A mini sized Mahabharat over the ownership of kitchen and cooking at home is an everyday affair between my amma and appa. I must admit that though my appa can cook and clean very well, he’s rather unconventional in his style. Left to manage the kitchen on my own with appa for company one day when amma was travelling, I realized how difficult it was to work with him in cooking up a menu because he almost works parallely in what appears to be the opposite direction of desired results, gives too many instructions and liberally peppers the experience of cooking with too much of scientific analysis!
That said, my appa’s fetish for kitchen experimentation does lead to yummy results. There are few dishes that both amma and I leave for appa to cook because only he can actually make them really well – we may be good cooks, but we cannot make Dumroot Halwa, Puli Upma and Aval Upma the way appa makes them. We may follow same recipe and method and yet not get the same results.
On a recent trip to Bangalore, I was served with the what I consider the best aval upma in the world. The recipe is straightforward, super quick and makes for a good evening snack.
Makes – 2 – 3 servings
- Aval/ Poha (flattened rice)* – 2 cups
- Vegetables of Choice (Onions, Carrots, Baby Corn, Capsicum etc) – 1 cup
- Coriander – 4 to 5 twigs (finely chopped)
- Salt to taste
- Ghee/ Oil – 1 tsp
- Water to soak
- Peanuts – 1/2 cup (roasted)
*use a thicker variety of aval/ poha
- Soak the Aval (flattened rice) for 10 minutes in enough water.
- Toss vegetables in ghee. Microwave the vegetables on high for 4 minutes until parboiled.
- Drain the soaked Aval in a colander well until all the water is gone.
- Toast the peanuts in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes in high.
- Add the well drained aval to the parboiled vegetables. Add salt and finely chopped coriander and mix well. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Add peanuts to the upma just before serving.
Serve with pickle/sauce of choice.
This recipe yields an aval upma, that is fluffy and filled with the flavour of vegetables rather than spices. This is how the recipe is meant to work and taste. With additions or twists, it just isn’t the same aval upma anymore. Since the recipe depends a lot on the flavour of the vegetables, how you cut the vegetables is important. Slice the onions very thin and the rest of your vegetables can be cut in even roundels or cubes that are not too big nor too small. Any vegetable that you choose to add, needs to be cut in a way that you like to taste it in the dish best.
Fellow recipe marathoners: