Usually, if someone says they are making vegetable upma, they still make it carb-heavy with lots of rava or poha and carb-rich veggies like potatoes and carrots. So, even though it is technically a ‘tiffin’ (which is supposed to be light), it can still raise your sugar levels considerably if you are a diabetic. So, what to do?
Doctors keep telling you that the proportion of grains and vegetables in your plate should be switched – i.e., you must be eating majority vegetables with a little bit of grain and protein on the side. So, then you spend the time making upma, then making some side veggies, getting exhausted and feeling frustrated.
So, here’s my idea to make vegetable upma with about 80% vegetables with a little bit of grain (red poha) and protein (roasted gram, nuts) thrown in. With this idea, your main dish will be composed mostly of veggies. It is easy to make, should keep you full and satiated without going carb-crazy. I hope you give this ‘mostly vegetable upma’ recipe a try.
Step By Step Pictures
What I like about this recipe is that – it is actually very easy. In fact, it is easier to make this than the traditional upma. Who said healthy food has to be time-consuming?
I use the huge organic, frozen mixed veggies bag from Costco.
Steam the frozen veggies for about 10 minutes…
Take red (or regular) poha, soak in water for a few minutes, after it gets soft – squeeze out the water and keep aside.
Get the tadka process going – mustard seeds, wait for it to splutter, then add the rest of tadka items followed by onions…
Add the steamed veggies & saute..
Add the squeezed-dry poha…
Add powdered gram and saute..
This vegetable upma has about 80% vegetables. Rich in fiber and protein, this will keep you satiated as a nourishing breakfast, healthy lunch or a light tiffin option.
- 5 cups Frozen Veggies
- 1/2 cup Red Poha
- 1/4 cup Roasted Gram (also called pottu kadalai)
- 1 medium Onion chopped
- Salt (as needed)
- 2 tbsp Oil (Any neutral oil)
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 tsp Split Urad Dal
- Curry leaves (few)
- 2 Green Chillies (slit, chopped large pieces)
- 1/4 cup Mixed Nuts (peanuts, cashew, walnuts, etc)
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
Steam the frozen veggies in a steamer. Mine took 10 minutes in the steamer straight from the frozen stage to the cooked stage.*
Soak the red poha in water for 2-3 minutes (time may vary depending on thickness). Once it is soft to the touch, drain, squeeze out the water and keep separately.
In a hot wok, add oil, then mustard seeds. When it splutters add the rest of tadka items and chopped onion, some salt and saute well.
Once the onion is translucent, add the steamed veggies and saute on high heat for a few minutes.
Add the squeezed-out poha to the wok and saute well.
Powder 1/4 cup roasted gram in a coffee grinder. Add the powdered gram at the end. Give a final saute at high heat for 1-2 minutes.
Serve with sambar, chutney or yogurt.
Depending on where you buy it, the size of the frozen veggies may differ and correspondingly the steam times may differ by a few minutes – we want well-cooked veggies; not mushy or undercooked either.
Now, you must be wondering…this looks like a vegetable poriyal or side dish? Why is Swetha trying to sell us a side-dish as a main-dish?? 2 reasons – first of all, the flavor profile of upma is definitely there in this dish. The onions, the tadka, the green chillies, curry leaves etc all make this dish very much tasting like an upma.
Second, I wanted to bring up this upma idea to talk about our mindset. We (vegetarian Indians) are constantly eating grains and dals for 3 meals every day and wrecking our sugar/insulin levels. We then end up at a stage in our 50’s and 60’s where we are forced to monitor our diets with a microscope. Why not change at least one meal in a day when we are in our 30’s and 40’s itself and start easing out of the carb-rich cycle?
One more thing, in this day and age, with frozen veggies available, it is actually easier for us to eat healthy compared to our parent’s generation where they had to physically wash, peel and chop 1-2 kgs of vegetables for lot larger families. We just have to think a little differently and upgrade our food with the times:).
What do you think? Are you ready to try this mostly vegetable upma? Post your thoughts and comments below. As always, I look forward to reading them.
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