1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon, or more, ground coriander
cayenne to taste (I use at least 1/8 teaspoon)
handful finely chopped fresh veggies (your choice)
1 and 2/3 to 2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
salt to taste
5 to 6 tablespoon quick cook Malt-o-Meal, or similar product
additional 1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
little minced garlic, or scan't 1/8 teaspoon asafetida powder
Comfort food like Indian polenta! I make it when I'm on my own for lunch, but recipe could easily be doubled or tripled.
To begin, heat first teaspoon oil in pan (just a little oil, as you'll add more at the end). Add black pepper, cumin, coriander and cayenne to oil, and fry for about 1 min. until fragrant. (Pepper and coriander are best freshly ground; use whole cumin if you like.)
Add veggies and, if using, the garlic. (Cabbage and peas are good; chop small to reduce cooking time. A few chopped cashews wouldn't hurt.) Sauté veggies until mostly soft; add a spoonful or two of water if veggies get dry, stick or burn.
When mostly cooked, add rest of water, along with turmeric, salt and nutmeg. Bring to boil. Slowly add Malt-o-Meal, reduce heat, and stir till thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
In separate pan, heat last teaspoon oil, and add mustard seeds. Let fry till they start to pop. After popping for a few minutes, remove from heat and add asafetida, if using, and let that sizzle for just a second, then add oil and fried spices directly to uppma. Oil might pop up at you, so be careful. Stir it in to mix the flavors--and eat.
Dish can be as thick or as loose as you like, depending on proportion of Malt-o-Meal to water. Uppma is, I think, traditionally made with semolina. Thats tasty too, but adjust proportions and cooking time. Dont skip the black mustard seed step--it makes the dish! Gives a great nutty, slightly charred flavor. Yellow mustard seeds are probably more easily found at the store. I've never tried substituting them for the black ones, but I'm sure it would work okay.