Like I was saying in this post, cooking with millets is something I have started relatively recently. The Organics & Millets Mela 2017, held earlier this year, inspired me to do more with millets in my kitchen. Since then, I have been experimenting a lot more with millets than ever before, trying out new things, learning, learning, learning all the time.
At the Mela, we were shown technology that could make vermicelli out of different types of millets. Back then, you wouldn’t get millet vermicelli in stores except, maybe, finger millet aka ragi vermicelli – it was still an emerging field. Recently, I was thrilled to spot packets of all kinds of millet-based vermicelli at Eco Store, HSR Layout. I picked up a couple of packets – little millet and pearl millet (bajri), and made vermicelli upma with them. I must say, the millet vermicelli upma turned out scrumptious!
Millet vermicelli upma makes for a nice change from upma made using the regular rice-based semiya (vermicelli). This version is healthier than the rice-based upma as well. Cooking millet vermicelli is easy too – it just needs a slightly different technique than cooking rice-based semiya.
Now, let’s get on to the procedure of using millet vermicelli to make upma, shall we?
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
- 180 grams millet vermicelli, or 1 packet of millet vermicelli
- Salt to taste
- 3 green chillies, slit length-wise
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- A dash of chilli powder, if needed
- 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
- A few fresh curry leaves
- A small piece of cabbage, finely chopped
- 5-6 beans, strings removed, finely chopped
- 1 small capsicum, finely chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons green peas
- 2 tablespoons oil
- A pinch of asafoetida
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
- Soak the millet vermicelli in water for 2 minutes. Use plain water, just enough to cover the vermicelli completely.
- After 2 minutes, pour out all the excess water from the vermicelli. Place the soaked vermicelli in a colander for a couple of minutes, so that all the water entirely drains out.
- Take a little water in a pressure cooker bottom, and place it on the gas. Place a stand at the bottom, and place a plate over it. Over this, place the colander with the millet vermicelli. Close the cooker. Without placing the cooker whistle, steam the vermicelli for 8-10 minutes, on high flame.
- Remove the colander from the cooker, and let the vermicelli come to room temperature.
- Now, fluff up the millet vermicelli, using a spoon, gently.
- Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add in the mustard seeds. Allow them to pop. Add in the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds.
- Now, add in all the veggies – chopped onions, carrot, cabbage, beans, capsicum and green peas, along with salt to taste.
- Cook the veggies on a high flame, till they are done, but not overly so.
- Turn the flame to low. Add in the cooked vermicelli, curry leaves, slit green chillies, turmeric powder, chilli powder (if using), and salt to taste (if required).
- Mix well, but gently. Let everything cook together, on low flame, for a minute or two, stirring intermittently.
- Switch off the gas, and add the finely chopped coriander and lemon juice. Mix well, with gentle hands.
- Serve piping hot, on its own or with chutney of your choice.
- Any millet vermicelli – finger millet (ragi), little millet, pearl millet (bajri)- can be cooked in this manner.
- Soaking and cooking times for the millet vermicelli might vary, depending upon what brand you use. Do check the instructions on the package for detailed instructions.
- You can increase the number of green chillies you use, if you need extra heat, and skip the red chilli powder altogether.
- Any veggies that you have on hand can be used to make this millet vermicelli upma. Alternatively, you could make the upma using just onions, green peas, and green chillies, and skip using the other veggies. We do both variations, and find them equally tasty.
- A tablespoon of grated, fresh coconut can be added at the end, too, for extra taste.
- Ensure that the cooked millet vermicelli has cooled down completely, before proceeding to make the upma. Don’t miss this, otherwise you will end up with a gooey upma.
- It is critical that the millet vermicelli be cooked in a pressure cooker, placed in a colander, to ensure that it is cooked thoroughly. Keep the colander with vermicelli atop a plate, which is placed above a stand inside the pressure cooker, to ensure that no water enters the colander.
Do you make upma using millet vermicelli too? If so, do tell me your method of preparation too – I’d love to know!
Interested in reading about the other millet recipes on my blog? Here you go!
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