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Bread Upma – the Sunday brunch version

In breakfast, cooking, food, snacks, vegetarian on July 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm


Those from the south of India would know what ‘bread upma’ is – it is a variation of a traditional dish made with bread. But it is typically bland, tastes far too strongly of turmeric and generally fails to impress. But this version is the answer to all those who wished for something more interesting. It is perfect for that lazy Sunday brunch – for any day actually – when you want something that is easy to make, yet tasty enough to make you reach for second or third helpings. In fact, it has become such a hit with my colleagues that I am often asked to make this for my entire team! :)

A word though – I have not included exact measurements for the condiments/spices in the recipe included below. I usually eyeball the measurements, and am sure it works far better than following a given measure to the tee. Go on and try this out – and I hope it is part of your wonderful Sunday brunch! :)


Bread – 1 loaf (approx)
Tomatoes – 3 big or 4 medium
Onions – 1 big and 1 medium
Green chilli – 1 big
Corriander leaves – for garnish

Cumin seeds (jeera)
Ginger-garlic paste
Turmeric powder
Red Chilli powder
Sugar (a pinch)
Tomato ketchup

Making the Bread Upma

Cut the bread into cubes. Heat a thick-bottomed wok on the fire (don’t add any oil in it). When the wok is hot, toss in the bread and keep tossing the pieces around until they become a very light brown. Drizzle a spoon or two of oil over the bread and toss it around well so that the cubes are evenly toasted. Keep turning the cubes around regularly, so that the heat is evenly distributed. When the cubes start to turn a darker brown, take the wok off fire and keep aside to cool.

Chop the tomatoes into cubes and keep aside. Slice the green chilli lengthwise and then chop into tiny bits (keep the seeds if you like it to be spicy). Slice the onions into long, thin strips.

Heat a big non-stick pan or work. When it becomes hot, pour in some oil. After about half-a-minute, add a generous helping of cumin seeds and let them simmer. When the seeds turn a dark brown, add the green chillies. After half-a-minute, add the ginger-garlic paste and mix with the oil. (The oil will splutter sharply when you add the paste, so keep a lid handy.) After a minute, add the onions and mix everything together well. When the onions become transparent, add in the tomatoes and mix everything well. Smash a couple of the tomato pieces. Lower the heat slightly. Add in the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt and mix well. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar and mix well. Add a tablespoon (approx) or ketchup and mix it all together. Let simmer for about two minutes.

Toss in all the bread and quickly mix together so that the tomato mixture coats the bread pieces evenly. Take care not to lump the bread together – use a flat ladle to spread the bread around. After a few minutes, when the bread looks moist (but not wet), take it off the heat. Chop some sprigs of coriander leaves and toss into the bread upma and give it one final mix.


Cupcake Decoration Techniques

In dessert, DIY on April 25, 2012 at 5:16 pm

yes, i know i haven’t posted anything in a while. can searing heat and smothering humidity be cited as a reason for not going near the kitchen? maybe the fact that i have been down with occasional bouts of flu/headache/stomach ache/etc.

okay, truth is, i have been trying out some recipes, but they backfired. i won’t bore you with details, but rest assured it has left me wondering whether my personal cooking angel has taken a break from hovering over me when i pick up a bowl and ladle. *sigh*

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Marble Cake (Eggless)

In baking on April 9, 2012 at 11:16 am

its been ages since i last baked anything and i have been trying to get back my touch. its not been easy – for one, i’m now living in Chennai (India), where finding good quality baking products is proving to be a challenge. i miss the days in Singapore when the NTUC/Cold Storage was just a bus ride away, and i could choose from aisles devoted to baking goods. the other issue is that after a long break, it is easy to get put off by failures. just the other day, i tried making a carrot cake, but it didn’t turn out well – it looked fantastic, but didn’t taste as good :(

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Chocolate-coated Marshmallow Pops

In dessert, Sweets on February 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm

are there times when you see something online, and you have to – just have to – try it out? well, there are many such recipes that i have been coming across, but i haven’t been able to do much. why? simply because i haven’t able to set up my oven in the place i am living in right now (long story – involves some electricity outages and stuff, so you really don’t want to know!)

so when a recipe that is simple to put together and involves no baking comes along – like this recipe for Valentine’s Day Marshmallow Pops  – i really have no excuse to put it off! :)

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Dhoklas And Corriander Chutney

In cooking, dinner for one, lunch, snacks on November 13, 2011 at 10:40 pm

when i was thinking about what i should blog about after all these months, i kept thinking of sweet things – a cake maybe, or something to do with chocolate. but life has a way of changing your plans! :) last night, i had dhoklas and green chutney for dinner, and when i saw the little squares garnished with grated coconut and chopped corriander, with emerald-green chutney on the side, my mind was made up!

a popular gujarati dish, dhoklas come in varied forms. this one, known as ‘khaman dhokla’, is made from besan or chickpea flour. dhoklas are a light, delicious and versatile dish that are easy to make and can be served as a main or snack, at pretty much any time of day. and since it is steamed, it is also a healthy foodie option. all good things in one – ain’t that amazing? :)

couple of things to take note of: one, prepping your ingredients and utensils beforehand is very important. that’s because the version below (which is the ‘easy way out’ kind) depends on fruit salt to give the effect of instant fermentation to the batter. to let the batter sit for a while would mean that it would literally fizzle out – leaving you with hard dhoklas. the second thing is to use a flat plate or utensil with some depth that can fit into your pressure cooker (or steamer if you’re using one). if the plate is shallow, you won’t get the trademark springiness that is key to good dhoklas. and finally – this leans towards personal taste – please, please serve your dhoklas only with chutney – ketchup or chillli sauce just don’t cut it! so are you all set to get down to making some? :)
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