Cracked Wheat Upma in Arisi Upma Style

Posted by Beyond Curries | Wednesday, September 30, 2009 | , , , , , | 3 comments »

As soon as we hear the word 'upma' rava (sooji/semolina) comes to our mind. That's one among the many types of upma one can prepare. Rice (arsi), Vermicelli (semiya), flattened rice (aval), Tapioca (sabudana/javvarisi) upmas are famous too. Arisi Upma is a traditional Tam-Bram (Tamil Brahmin) dish. To prepare this upma, a combination of raw rice, toor dal (thuvaram paruppu) and chana dal (kadalai paruppu) is powdered (usually in a flour mill) and will be kept in stock to use it as and when required. Growing up I was never a fan of this upma. In general upma always gets a back seat and especially this arisi upma was never my favorite.

My husband loves this upma and I too developed a liking for this dish gradually. To cook this upma right, the rice should have a certain texture which was difficult for me to get using an Indian mixer/grinder. That's when I decided to use cracked wheat in place of the rice. This not only saved me time and energy from powdering the rice but also is healthy and we like the taste very much. Now it has become a regular in my mother's house and mother-in-law's house too. Since we are not powdering chana daal, my mother-in-law gave this idea of soaking the chana dal and red chillies, grinding it and adding it to the cracked wheat. Traditionally the grated coconut and red chili is also added as it is, but I feel that grinding it with the chana dal spreads the flavor of coconut evenly. Hope you all enjoy this upma as we do.

Cracked Wheat Upma

Recipe: Cracked Wheat Upma (in Arisi Upma style)
Prep & Cooking Time: 35 mins
Recipe Level: Basic/Beginner
Serves: 2 people
Recipe/Post by: Madhuram

1 cup Cracked Wheat/Broken Wheat (not the very fine variety)
2 and 1/4 cups Water

For tempering:
2 teaspoons Oil (preferably Coconut Oil)
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Peppercorns (or coarsely powdered)
1 teaspoon Chana Dal
1 teaspoon Urad Dal
1 Green Chili, slit lengthwise
A pinch Hing
Salt as required
4-5 Curry Leaves (if you have in hand)
Ghee (optional)

For grinding:
1 tablespoon Chana Dal
1/4 cup Coconut, grated
1 Red Chili

Special Utensils:
A frying pan
Pressure Cooker

Ingredients for Cracked Wheat Upma

  1. Soak the chana dal and red chili with little water at least for 10 minutes. Boil the 2 and 1/4 cups of water in another vessel.
  2. In a small frying pan, add the 2 teaspoons of oil. Once it is hot add one by one the ingredients (except salt) given for tempering, fry it and switch off the stove.
  3. Grind the soaked dal and chili with the grated coconut to a paste.
  4. Take a vessel which will fit in a pressure cooker. In that vessel add the cracked wheat, boiling water, tempered ingredients, salt and the coconut paste and mix it with a spatula.
  5. Fill the pressure cooker with little water, put the trivet and place the vessel inside it and close the lid. Cover the vent with a small cup (to enable quick steaming). Once there is enough steam from the cooker's vent, place the weight. Leave it for 2 whistles.
  6. Open the cooker's lid once the pressure releases. Remove the vessel from the cooker and fluff the upma with a ladle. You will see that the upma will not be sticky and will look like pulav. You can add a teaspoon of ghee on top of the upma and mix it once. This gives a nice aroma to the upma.

Special Notes:
  • Use the coarser variety of cracked wheat for this upma so it will have a nice chewy texture. If using the very fine variety you can cook it straight away in a frying pan. No need to use a pressure cooker. Also 2 cups of water should be enough.
  • You can directly cook the upma in a pressure cooker, instead of placing it in a vessel. But I feel that sometimes there is a chance for the upma getting burnt and sticking to the cooker if you cook directly. So I prefer putting all the ingredients in a vessel and then placing it in a pressure cooker.
  • Cracked wheat and bulgur is being interchangeably used in many places, but they both are entirely different. Cracked wheat is what the name suggests, wheat berries are cracked into small pieces, so cooking is essential. Whereas for bulgur, wheat berries are cooked, sun dried and then coarsely powdered. Cooking is not necessary, just re-hydrating it in hot water is enough. So cracked wheat and broken wheat are the same but not bulgur.
  • We generally don't eat spicy/salty food, so please increase it according to your preference.

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  1. Sharmila // 1 October 2009 at 10:25  

    I really needed this ... since cracked wheat is good for health yet I know only the sweet version. Thank you so much for this recipe. :-)

  2. KALVA // 1 October 2009 at 21:49  

    lovely upma. bookmarked dear

  3. Divya Vikram // 3 October 2009 at 07:58  

    Will try this recipe with bulgur. Sounds healthy!