Archive for May 20, 2006

Sweet Fried Upma ~ “Hasty Pudding”

“Last night, I didn’t get to sleep at all… ”

(from the song by the 5th Dimension)

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I couldn’t get that song out of my head early this morning. I had been up through the night. Finally came downstairs, fired up the machine, and read through every recipe link on my hotlist and then some. I wanted to follow Indira’s suggestion and make sweet pongal — all those raisins and cashews… jaggery… ghee… yum. But at 3 am I could not get inspired to work.

At daybreak the chorus of birds began to sing, calling the cats for breakfast. Kitties were happy with tuna treats, mixed with a little warm water to make tuna mush. Tuna mush does not appeal to me, but how about some nice warm cereal? MMmm…

New Englanders called it “hasty pudding” — cornmeal and water cooked into a pudding (or “mush”) over the fire. The leftovers could be chilled, sliced, and fried up the next day for breakfast. This is what I had in mind, but I wanted to try it with suji, and all those goodies in the sweet pongal. I did not really measure carefully, but tossed things in as I went along.

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3/4 c suji (cream of wheat)
1 c water
1/2 c milk, warmed
2 TB yogurt (at room temperature)

1 tsp ghee, plus more for frying

2 TB cashews, broken
2 TB golden raisins
4 cardamom pods, cracked and soaked in the warm milk
small lump jaggery
pinch salt

Warm milk in microwave or in dish of hot water. Let yogurt come to room temperature.

Crack cardamom and add to warm milk to soak.

Toast the suji slowly in a dry pan until the color changes and set aside.

Heat ghee, add cashews and raisins and cook a few minutes until warm and starting to turn golden. In the same pan, raise the heat, add water, milk, jaggery, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, whisk in yogurt, and return pan to burner over medium heat. Add the toasted suji in a thin, steady stream, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon.

Stir until upma forms a ball around the spoon. Remove from the heat and continue to stir vigorously until well thickened — this will be thicker than for usual upma.

Remove thickened upma to a plate. Using the back of a spoon, shape into a log (it helps to wet the spoon). Allow to cool thoroughly.

When ready for breakfast, cut upma log into slices about 1/4″ thick. Heat ghee in frying pan and add upma slices. Cook slowly, about 5 minutes a side, until nicely browned.

Serve hot with fresh strawberries and a bit of yogurt, or with maple syrup a la “hasty pudding”.

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Sweet Upma with Strawberries and Yogurt

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