Lima beans Upma

Floyd Cardoz, Winner of the Top Chef season 3  makes the Humble Upma winning 100,000$.

This was last year in June 2011, the Top chef season 3. But when ever I think of this win I feel ” Gee, these winners do the weirdest and the least expected thing”.

This guy takes the simple of the simplest everyday dish from southern India, adds the most unexpected vegetable- The wild mushrooms, uses the chicken stock , gives the dish a whole new twist with coconut milk, makes it his own and Lo! we have a winner!!!

Its pretty amazing how these simple little twists what we call “innovations” makes an ordinary into extra ordinary. It also assures me, time and again, that we all have that creative factor deep with in us. It is just that we have to believe and explore with in ourselves, and there is no doubt we can do extraordinary things!

Now about my Upma, which was a winner in my home 🙂

I made this as a “quick fix”.    Upma or Uppittu, generally is a quick fix in most households in South India. It is a common breakfast dish served everywhere, from homes  to restaurants to household functions to wedding ceremonies.

It is most versatile, takes zero to many vegetables, it is very tasty,  very filling depending on how many veggies go in to the dish. Since it is made from cream of wheat, it generally fills you up very quickly, giving it the name of “concrete” by many folks  🙂

I really cannot believe there are Upma- haters too! I have come to the  conclusion that they hate it only because they are not doing it right. I guess they think, since it is simple, its boring!

A good upma, like any other good dish, needs some care, some make up, some fine tuning, some sharpening and it has the ability to win 100,000$!!!! helloo..

Let me take a moment to mention that my Mom is a maker of super -tasty upma. Avarekaalu( surti lilva bean) upma is her expertise.

The star ingredients of Upma are the green chilis and ginger. Black pepper and Cumin play a vital role too and of course the garnishes like cilantro and freshly grated coconut, take the Upma to a whole new level!

My upma above was, as I mentioned, a quick fix. That means, I had 1/2 and hour, I peeked into the fridge, I see no vegetables, I peeked in the freezer, I had Lima beans!

I thought, Lima beans, onions, tomatoes…..Lima beans Upma it is gonna be!

What  we need:

1 cup of coarse Semolina/ suji/ Rawa

1 onion finely chopped

1 tomato finely chopped

1 cup of Lima beans

6 green chillis finely chopped ( I like it spicy)

1pinch turmeric

1tsp mustard seeds

1tsp cumin seed

1/2 inch ginger, finely grated

Cilantro, finely chopped for garnish and lemon juice.

3 cups of water, for creamy consistency. Use 2 cups if you want  coarse consistency.

5 tbsp oil


In a thick bottomed pan, roast the semolina with a few drops of oil. roast it on a medium low flame, just until the semolina starts changing color and you have a nice aroma of the same. STOP if the semolina starts to get golden or dark brown. Ouch, you burnt it!!!

Once roasted, transfer it to another plate and let it cool.

In a pan heat 5 tbsp of oil. use MEDIUM HIGH flame. Once its heated, add mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric, green chillis and ginger and roast for 2 mins. Then add onions and fry till translucent. Then add tomatoes and Lima beans and fry for few minutes. Cover a lid until all the Veggies become soft. take off the lid and add 3 cups of water and SALT to taste. Let the water come to a rolling boil. Now add the roasted semolina slowly and gradually into the boiling water. keep stirring the water so that the Suji does not form lumps. Once there are no lumps , cover the pan with a lid and turn the flame to LOW.

Let the suji cook for 5 mins. Next, stir the Upma with a spoon. By now you have a nice creamy lump of the dish. turn off the heat.

Garnish with Cilantro and lemon juice.