A healthy punch


Our time in Mumbai was pure bliss. What do I miss the most? Every. Single. Thing. And when it comes to my personal home space, I miss my maid and cook the most. A hardworking woman, Darshana was as thin as me, and still, she gave birth to two kids, earned well, put her kids in a reputed English-medium school and was simple by nature. I used to think, if she can do so much, why can’t I? Even today, when I work in my kitchen here in Gurgaon, I keep thinking of Darshana and how things would be different in my kitchen and how easily I would have managed it. But, that’s life, isn’t it? I part my way from Mumbai, and it is exactly why I miss it so much. We learn about things, when we lose them.

Darshana was an amazing cook. To be true, that’s an underrated word for her. She was freaking good! She would cook and clean up my kitchen in like, 20 mins. From Italian to regional cuisine, she made even technical and time-consuming recipes look simple. Today, I’m sharing one of her recipes: Upma, which is made with semolina. Have a small plate of hot upma as breakfast or evening snack  and thank the Maharashtrian lady later!

Also, for me, upma is better than packaged cereals. I can never eat them, anyway. Simply cook your upma without any seeds or nuts, with extra ghee, and you can feed it your two-year-old baby as well. Just make sure the veggies are boiled enough.

Recipe: Upma

  1. In a wok or kadhai (on medium flame), add two tablespoons of ghee. Once hot, add a few curry leaves, a pinch of asafoetida, 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds, 2 slit green chillies, and 1 small, chopped onion.
  2. Fry it for a minute and now add 3/4 cup of rawa (semolina) and roast it.
  3. After the semolina is roasted and slightly changes its colour, add 2 cups of hot water and put a lid on top. Remove the lid after four to five minutes and check if the semolina has fluffed up or not.
  4. Right before switching off the flame, add another tablespoon of ghee, juice of half a lemon and mix it slightly. Garnish with roasted cashew nuts and chopped coriander leaves.

My mother puts 2 cups of sour buttermilk (room temperature) instead of the hot water. This gives the upma a glowing, white colour and it won’t require lemon juice as well.

Notes: You can also add veggies like carrots, tomatoes, beans, peas, etc. to make the upma more colourful and give it a healthy twist.

Mulberry skies

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I have been teaching a bunch of local kids ever since I have moved to Gurgaon from Mumbai. Actually, my neighbour aunty used to teach around 15 kids and I happily asked her to send half of them at my place. The class switched on and off because of a job I joined and left in between, but now it’s a daily routine. In the last two years, 3 to 5 PM in the noon has become a special time for me, which I share with these little birds that flock in my living room from different corners. We share a close bond now so much so that they know what to do when my mood fluctuates and I know when one of them is hiding a secret. Yesterday, they got me some fresh mulberries picked from a nearby tree. Ironically, I have never tasted them before. They were so happy to do it for me and I felt blessed!

Background score right now: Ala Barfi!