May 25, 2008 | 47 Comments
Originally posted on May 25, 2008.
Updated on June 7, 2008.
Thank you, Google God.
We deleted this post (from two weeks ago) by mistake and here’s how we got it back, pictures, comments and all. Thank you for the tips, Cookblog. That post taught us a lot of things we didn’t know.
If you lose a post, go to google and type the keywords of your lost post. We typed ‘crazy’, ‘upma’ and ‘jugalbandi’.
If it shows up, go to ‘cached’, and click on it. Your post with show up, pics, comments and all, with the search words ‘crazy’ and ‘upma’ highlighted.
The interesting thing is that google shows the pics too, even though they were deleted from our blog. Then go to ‘View’ on the top of your page, and click on ‘View Source’ . From there, you can copy the html code of your post and paste it back to your site.
We had to copy and paste the comments back one by one. These cached pages are supposedly available only for a certain time frame, so the sooner you recover your post, the better.
Thanks to your tips, we were able to backdate this post on WordPress to May.
‘Crazy’ because Tarragon Upma with Tomatoes, Olives and Lotus Seeds is too long to fit into our header.
The modus operandi in our home is this. Bee usually buys weird stuff from the grocery store – things that we’ve never tried before. They get lost amidst the chaos of the freezer or pantry.
When J cooks something, he goes on a voyage of discovery garnering ingredients for his dish – the stranger the better. And an interesting dinner is born.
Two days ago, J made upma and chutney for dinner.
Upma is a south Indian concoction. It literally means salt+flour. In Tamil and Malayalam, Uppu=”salt”, Maavu=”flour” (of any kind).
Semolina is usually cooked with ghee (clarified butter), curry leaves, onions and flavourings to create many variations. Sometimes tomatoes and veggies are added – much like couscous.
For one, we don’t buy semolina. It is a refined product. Wholegrain cornmeal or fine cracked wheat (which is also wholegrain) are great substitutes. Cornmeal also has more flavour.
Bulgur/cracked wheat and cornmeal may not always be whole grain. Make sure it says ‘whole grain’ or ‘whole wheat’. (The Whole Grain Guide)
If you don’t get fine cracked wheat, get regular cracked wheat (bulgur) and run it through the food processor for a slightly finer grind.
In Hyderabad once, Bee ate ‘MLA pesarattu‘ (upma in a mung bean pancake) oozing grease, and was put off upma for a long long time. J’s upmas changed her mind, though.
In J’s creations, there are always one, two, maybe three totally unexpected ingredients.
So J made dinner and the guessing game began.
Bee got three of the four right.
Tomatoes – we could taste them.
Black olives – we could see them.
The green stuff – very aromatic and lemony. Had to be French tarragon. It’s the latest love of J’s life. He adds it to everything he can.
The round nutty stuff was a surprise – lotus seeds.
Left to right: French tarragon, fine cracked wheat, black olives, dried lotus seeds
We had a can lying in the pantry. We also had some dried ones (shown in pic). They need to be soaked before being boiled. High in protein, low in fat, sweet and nutty, they are a fantastic addition to any dish.
The tarragon came through clear and strong. The plant was a gift from our friend, and is the latest addition to our home garden.
It is a beautiful herb – very aromatic with notes of anise and lemon. We love it raw (it’s a great mouth freshener), or added to salads. Its delicate flavour makes it a popular addition to seafood dishes.
French tarragon is much more fragrant and flavourful than Russian tarragon, or the American variety called ‘Texas tarragon’.
A lot of crazy upmas get made in our kitchen. This was one of the best.
TARRAGON UPMA with TOMATOES, OLIVES AND LOTUS SEEDS
This is more a formula rather than a recipe. Usually, the herbs used are cilantro and curry leaves. Use 1:2 proportion of fine cracked wheat/cornmeal/semolina to liquid. If you like your upma gooey, add between 2.25 to 2.5 cups liquid.
1.5 cups fine cracked wheat, coarse cornmeal or semolina
in a skillet until nutty and fragrant and keep aside.
Meanwhile, dice 4 or 5 tomatoes.
To concentrate the flavour, cook them down in the stove top or microwave (HIGH on 5 minutes) until some of the moisture has evaporated and the tomatoes are mushy.
We need about 1 cup of this tomato sauce.
If using dried lotus seeds, soak overnight and boil for 15 minutes.
2 tsps oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp chana dal (split yellow peas)
2 dried red chillies
When the mustard seeds pop, add a pinch of turmeric
3/4 cup chopped onion
Fry until transluscent.
1/4 chopped olives
a little salt (less than usual ‘cos the olives are salty)
a handful of finely chopped Frech tarragon
**or herbs of choice
2 cups soaked and boiled lotus seeds (or canned)
**or veggies of choice
the tomato sauce (1 cup)
Mix it all together and bring to a boil. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil again. Taste for salt. It should be a tad salty.
Add the roasted cracked wheat in a stream and mix so as not to form lumps. Mix well, cover and cook on medium-low until most of the liquid is absorbed and the wheat is cooked You may need to add a half cup more of water.
Mix in another handful of finely chopped French tarragon.
Serve hot with chutney.
Sour green mangoes are really hard to come by in our neck of the woods. Recently, our Indian grocer has been stocking cut frozen green mangoes. They have a mushier texture than fresh green mangoes, and can’t really be enjoyed raw, but are perfect in dals (lentils) and chutneys, where they end up becoming a paste anyway.
4 ounces of grated unsweetened coconut (fresh, frozen or dry) and
4 ounces chopped green mangoes (we used frozen)
4 Thai bird chillies
1 tsp chopped ginger
to a smooth paste. You may need to add a tiny bit of water.
Add salt to taste.
Heat 1 tsp oil.
Add 1/2 tsp each mustard seeds and chana dal.
You can add some finely diced mango pieces for a bite.
Mix and serve.
Mango-coconut Chutney is our entry for Weekend Breakfast Blogging hosted by Arundati @ Escapades, where the theme is Mango.