Aug 23, 2009

Upma, Idiyappam , Instant Dosa & Chicken Curry ... A few basic homemade dishes for everyone

Upma / Uppumaavu

Upma is a dish ubiquitous in South India. It’s advantages are : - easy/quick to make, easy to digest and it can be made of minimum ingredients. A variety of Upma dishes can be made - right from the plain variety to the one with vegetables( I have seen Upma with Tomatoes, carrots and all vegetables just like fried rice). It can be had either as plain, with a spicy side dish ( with potato curry - Kukka humman in Konkani cuisine, or with spicy savories like Mixture etc) or if one like sweet Upma, sprinkle a spoon full of sugar over it and here goes the sweet variety.

Featured here is a simple Upma which I made for today’s breakfast made from rawa. This can also be made from broken whole wheat / dalia - which is more healthier.

Serves : 2
Cooking time : 20 minutes


1 cup fried rawa ( sooji )
1 3/4 cup water
2 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin ( jeera ) seeds
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
2/3 green chillies , slit lengthwise
1 - inch piece ginger , chopped finely
1 spring dark green curry leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt ( or to taste )
1/4 cup grated coconut for garnishing


Heat oil in a kadai . Add mustard seeds. When they start splutter add jeera ( cumin ) seeds and urad dal. Saute for 2- 3 minutes. Add slit green chillies , ginger and curry leaves. Shallow fry for 3 -4 minutes or till it fragrant. Add water and salt. Cover with a lid and boil water on a medium heat.

When the water starts boiling , remove the lid, reduce flame to minimum. Pour rawa evenly with one hand and simultaneously stir with a spatula with the other hand. Mixing of rawa in boiling water is very important while making upma. It should be mixed evenly - else it may form lumps - which totally spoils the dish. Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 5 - 8 minutes till all the water evaporates. Mix/ turn the Upma once in a while. Once ready, sprinkle grated coconut and serve with Mixture / Alu Bhujia etc.

Instant rice dosa , Idiyappam & Chicken Curry

Instant Rice Dosa

This is an instant dosa preparation which is used in Northern Kerala. The advantage of this dosa is that it goes well with veg and non-veg dishes and it is easy to prepare. Also, it can be made from varying thickness as one desires - just by diluting the paste. This can be an ideal substitute for appam - which requires more ingredients, care and time to prepare.

Makes : 8 dosas


1 cup raw rice
1/2 cup grated coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
Water for grinding


Wash and soak the raw rice for 3 - 4 hours. Grind to a very fine paste with grated coconut . Add 1/4 cup water while grinding. Transfer the paste to another container. Add salt and extra 1/4 cup water to make a very thin consistency.

Caution: this dosa batter should not be kept aside for fermenting , but should be used for preparation immediately.

Heat the dosa tawa / non stick - pan. Smear a little oil on the tawa and pour one ladleful of batter so that it spreads in a thin , even layer. Cover and keep for 1 - 2 minutes. Then remove it carefully. It can be spread as thin as a handkerchief.


Yet another simple dish which goes well with veg and non-veg dish. One should have the proper mould to make idiyappam. This can be used as a main course or as an evening snack. Some use idiyappam to make Upma after crushing it. Idiyappam can also be converted into a sweet variety - by adding jaggery / sugar to it after crushing it into small pieces.

I made Idiyappam and chicken curry for today’s lunch.

Serves : 3 - 4
Makes : 12


1 cup raw rice flour - dry roasted
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ghee / oil
1 1/2 teaspoon extra oil
1/2 teaspoon salt


In a pan , boil water with salt and ghee / oil. When the water starts boiling add rice powder and mix well. Keep aside for cooling for an hour.

Add a teaspoon of oil to the mix and knead to a soft dough. Divide it into lemon sized balls. Lightly grease the idiyappam mould and put 2 lemon sized portions of the rice dough. Press/ extrude out the dough (resembling the noodles ) - while moving the mould in a small circle to form a small mount of noodles - onto each of the idiyappam stand / idli steamer. Steam for about 10 - 12 minutes in a steamer / pressure cooker / National-slow cooker or till done.

Chicken Curry

A watery / less spicy chicken curry just nice to go with Idiyappam / thin rice dosa. It is very light for stomach and cause minimum trouble to make. I follow this reciepe when I am short of time. Goes well with phulka roti also.

Serves : 3


500 g chicken ( Wash and clean chicken. Marinate with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Keep aside for 15 - 25 minutes )
3 onion, finely sliced
1 - inch ginger , finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 spring curry leaves
2 green chillies , slit lengthwise
3/4 teaspoon salt ( or to taste )
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoon cooking oil

Whole garam masala ( Spices )

4 cloves
4 cardamom
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise

Spices to be mixed with 1 tablespoon water

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
2 teaspoon coriander powder


Heat oil in a pan / kadai . Add whole garam masala and saute on a low heat for 3 - 4 minutes or till it fragrant. Add finely sliced onions and fry till golden color. Add green chilli, ginger, garlic and curry leaves. Shallow fry for 4 - 5 minutes. Add diluted turmeric - red chilli powder - coriander powder and saute for 3- 4 minutes on a low heat.

Add chicken pieces, salt and 3/4 cup water. Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 30 minutes. Serve with Idiyappam / thin rice dosa / appam.

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