What is the one complaint people often have of Upma – It is too carb heavy, right? I have 2 ideas for you to upgrade your traditional upma.
Look at the photo I have presented. Doesn’t it look like the typical upma? If anything, you are probably thinking, “Swetha, would it kill you to add a few carrots or peas for color? :)” But I promise you – it is lower in carbs than the standard version.
For the non-south indian readers
What is upma? Upma is a very staple, very common prototypical South Indian breakfast. Traditional Upma is basically tadka (standard indian tempering) + onions&green chilies + cooked grain (semolina, vermicelli etc). That’s the basic version. You can fancy it up in many ways, but at the heart of it is a very basic dish.
Upgrade your upma
1) Add cauliflower ‘rice‘ to bulk up the carb
The paleo diet started this clever trend. If you process cauliflower in your food processor, and pulse it to a “rice” consistency; you can use it as a grain substitute. If you compare 1 cauliflower to 1 cup cooked semolina:
Calories – Cauliflower – 146 vs semolina – 601
Carbs – Cauliflower – 29 g vs semolina – 122 g
In each instance cauliflower is almost 1/4 the amount of calories and carbs compared to rava.
You can make the cauliflower ‘rice’ portion in bulk and store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator.
You could then use it to bulk up not just upma, but also fried rice, lemon rice, etc,
As far as taste is concerned, my daughters could not tell that there was cauliflower in-between. It really saute’s like a grain. The cauliflower neither has any additional flavor nor does it take away any flavor from the grain. So, if you are a diabetic and looking for a way to consume traditional dishes without the sugar rise from refined grains, then this is a great option.
2) Use whole wheat couscous instead of rava
The whole wheat couscous I get from Trader Joe’s gives me hot, fluffy cooked grain in 5 minutes by just adding hot water. I can avoid the traditional step of roasting and cooking the semolina as per traditional method.
Being whole wheat, it has higher fiber (21 g for one cup vs 7g) than rava. The protein content for both remain the same. So, whole wheat couscous may be a processed grain, but a healthy and quick one – so win-win!! (Remember, not all processing is bad – understand and choose your ‘processed’ food battles wisely).
Notes – You want your cauliflower cooked, but not mushy. It should have the texture of cooked rava and NOT as though you added cauliflower puree to the dish. If you are using traditional method of making upma, I would recommend sauteing the cauliflower separately and adding it to the upma.
If you want to go all-in with low carb, you can take out the grain completely and substitute with cauliflower just like the paleo version. If you want that, all power to you. Personally, I like to do 50-50, so I don’t feel deprived, while still striving to incorporate as much veggies as possible.
This is also a great way to sneak in veggies to the kids who don’t like to see any veggies in their plate.
Have you seen or tried the ‘cauliflower rice’ technique? What are your initial thoughts and comments?…Let me know in the comments below or join the conversation at the blog’s facebook page. I look forward to your insights.