Oats Upma

When I turned vegan some years ago, I was told to avoid processed oats like, for example, Quaker Oats. These very knowledgeable people told me to stick to whole oats. I did some research on whole oats and found several varieties. Steel cut, rolled oats… It all left me very confused. So, I decided to stick to rolled oats. Since then, I have oats at least once a fortnight. Dosa, oothapam, idli, upma…
Last week, a friend asked me for a recipe using rolled oats. I sent her the oats upma recipe. Co-incidentally, Hari prepared it for breakfast the next morning. A much simpler version of this recipe. Needless to say, it tasted divine.

1 cup rolled oats
1 onion, cubed
1/4 cup chopped vegetables (carrot, peas, beans) – optional
2 green chilies (slit) or 1 broken red chili
1 sprig curry leaves
1/4 tsp chopped ginger (optional)
Pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds (jeera, jeeragam)
1/2 tsp split black gram (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
1/2 tsp Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
1 1/2 tbsp peanuts or cashews (use only if not using green peas)
Pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste
Lemon juice as needed or 1 very small tomato
Coriander leaves to garnish
Grated coconut, as desired (optional)
Roast the oats for about 5 minutes in a wide pan
Set aside to cool
(This is optional but helps to remove the husky smell)
Heat a pan and add cumin, mustard, peanuts, Bengal gram and split black gram
Roast till the Bengal and split black grams turn golden
Add asafoetida, ginger, chili and curry leaves
Roast till the leaves turn crisp
Add onions, chopped veggies and saute till onion turns translucent
Meanwhile, rinse the oats in a colander under running water
Drain the entire water
Set aside
Add turmeric into the pan
If you prefer to use tomato you can add it now and saute till it turns mushy
Add the rinsed oats, sprinkle salt
Mix well
Reduce the flame to low
Cover and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally till fully cooked
If needed you can sprinkle little water (if you like your upma to be mushy)
Add grated coconut, coriander leaves and lemon juice.
Mix and serve hot
It tastes good as it is
Or you can serve it with your favourite chutney

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