Thursday, December 10, 2009

Uyirullavarai Upma !

To me, there is something infinitely comforting about Upma......the earliest memories I have are of my Seetha Paati bringing steaming hot Upma with sugar and a bowl of curd on the side for me as soon as she hears me take off my shoes....if I close my eyes I can see her smiling, walking towards me from the kitchen saying ‘seekaram poi kai kal alambindu va'.....on certain days, when I am too tired, Paati would feed me even if amma says neenga avalukku romba chellam kudukarel ! Paati kaila oru urundai upma eduthundu, adhula oru china kuzhi panni, adhula konjoondu thayir vittu ooti viduva……am getting goose pimples just describing it.

Paati would also get creative and add carrots, peas, beans etc. to it and there have been times when I have been absolutely delighted to open my tiffin box during lunch and be greeted with the tri-color Upma.

Upma was my first culinary experiment, alone. Although I had started cooking at 10, I had never done anything without amma’s supervision. Then one day, someone passed away, the school declared a holiday and I was home in the afternoon. Since amma was not due to arrive until the evening, I was getting both hungry and restless. Although there were other food items to eat, I somehow missed Paati and her Upma and made the audacious decision to cook some myself.

You know the order right – kadugu vedichu ulutham paruppu, then onions/vegetables, then water and finally rava/semia to the boiling mixture. I slightly messed it up and added paruppu first and while I was waiting for the kadugu to vedichify, paruppu turned black :D ! I added rava first and then carrots (and you know how infinitely long carrots take to cook), so I ended up with a tri-color porridge, this time the three colors being white, red and black! But that did not deter me, I ate it with a feeling of triumph and described it later, to a really-amused amma too :D !

For my 10th board exams hols, we had gone on a trip to Kulu and Manali. Appa was in Chandigarh then and since we had relatives in Delhi, we had also visited them. In short, it was a lot of north Indian food and I was slowly getting tired of it. The feeling reached a crescendo in Manali where we had lived on Naan and roti for quite a while. It was then that we saw a dosa corner in the market place and gladly barged in for a much needed south Indian meal. While everyone had ordered dosas, I was scanning the menu with a faint hope of seeing my favorite Upma listed there...it was’nt. But what I had not counted on was a friendly south Indian Chef who would cook something especially for me at appa’s request. The first spoon of Upma (is a figurative expression by the way, enakku kaila sapta dhan nimmadhi) nearly made me cry with happiness.

Even today, Upma is my favorite Sunday or holiday breakfast. Irrespective of the quantity, it always leaves me content.

Amma always tells others ‘chowmeekku samaikardhu romba easy, Upma illa thayir sadham irundha podhum avalukku’....its totally true. I have an even longer list of stories for thayir sadham, maybe some other day, in some other post....

PS: Non-tamil speakers, sorry about the thanglish, the effect would be lost in translation.
Hit Counter
Website Hit Counter I had decided to have a counter only after I hit a 1000 views and since it happened last week (as on 14 Dec 2009), now is the time to see some stats :)