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Oats have never been a favourite in my house as a breakfast option. We started eating it just because of its health benefits and although I relish its taste – cooked in milk and drizzled with honey, my husband isn’t very fond of it and my daughter can’t imagine oats touching her lips except when it is for these cookies. I guess it is partly to do with the fact that we Indians prefer savoury over sweet for our breakfast. The preferred choices for us are Parathas (Stuffed Flatbread) accompanied with some pickle & Yogurt. A south Indian breakfast is guaranteed to have Idlis (Steamed Rice & Lentil Cakes) with Sambar (Lentil Stew) and Coconut Chutney while Handvo (Gluten free Rice & Lentil Cake) could be the choice for a Gujarati. Moong Dal Chila (Mung Bean Pancakes), Besan ka Chila (Spicey Pumpkin Pancakes) that I serve it with Green Pea Chutney and the Spinach & Ricotta Cheese Pancakes served with Indian 5-Spice Tomato Chutney are some other scrumptious options. So it is obvious that to make the oats appealing and happening they need to be served in a savoury form here and having seen the upma version by Quaker Oats, I knew this was right up the alley. The upma is traditionally a porridge of sorts that is made with the semolina (some add veggies to it) but oats seem to be a nice departure from the original semolina. It is of course very delicious and healthy too. In fact I found it to be a better option than having oats with milk/water along with honey or sugar. You can serve this upma with Coconut Chutney though I prefer it with the Coconut & Roasted Green Tomato Chutney which enhances its taste many folds.  I promise you, you are going love this. You just need to try it…once! So, here goes the recipe.

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2 cups Oats

1 tsp Ginger (chopped finely)

1½ tbsp Oil

8 – 10 Curry leaves

3 cups Water (add more if you like your oats more softened & moist)

1 tbsp Urad Daal (Ivory lentils)

1 tsp Chana Daal (split Bengal grams)

A pinch Asafoetida

1 tsp Mustard Seeds

1 Onion (finely chopped)

2 dried Red Chillies

1 Green Chili (mine was very hot and one sufficed)

Ghee to drizzle over (optional)

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Dry roast the oats in a pan or wok for 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring around the contents to prevent them  from burning. Take it off the gas and transfer the oats on a clean dry plate. Leave aside to cool.

Heat the oil in the same pan or wok and add the mustard seeds and as the become to pop, add the dried red chilies, urad dal and chana dal. once the dals begin to turn golden, tip in the onions, ginger, finely chopped green chili and curry leaves. Sauté onion till they are translucent and tender.

Add salt to taste and then the water. Bring to a boil and then blend oats. Keep stirring till the water is absorbed and oats are thoroughly cooked.

Serves: 3 – 4 adults

Note: You can add more water if you like the consistency of the oats more soft and moist. I like mine to have some what grainy texture with the oats holding their shape.

Note: I have used Rye Rolled Oats here, hence the color and texture will be different in case you use quick cooking oats or rolled oats. Upma made with quick cooking oats is going to have a soft mushed up texture but it will taste good nevertheless.

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(Serves 3-4)

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