Sunday, November 13, 2011

Khichadi - Mixed VegetableMasala Upma - Savory Cream of Wheat with vegetables

In the northern part of India Khichdi usually means a rice and lentils in a one pot rice dish. In my neck of the woods in TamilNadu the southern most state in India, khichadi is a savory dish made with cream of wheat, vegetables and seasoned with turmeric for the tell tale yellow color. Similar to upma but with added masala khichadi can be called a masala upma if you will. Khichidi- Kichadi similar sounding dishes but totally different.

This recipe was what I decided to make for a potluck at a friend's house. She had decided on theme for the event - chaats (snacks). For my contribution she helpfully suggested gol goppa, other than hearing the name a few times I wasn't sure what it was. She translated it to as pani puri which I have tasted and enjoyed a few times but making it was a different story all together. Doubtful about my pani puri making abilities I was debating on taking the easy route and buying the pani and the puri. Maybe that came through on the phone call. Anyway we finally decided on Upma in a second phone call when she felt that there were too many fried items on the menu. I am glad she did and saved me the embarrassment of a failed pani puri.

Khichadi has to be fluffy to be liked, soggy pasty khichadis is what made me run away from them for a long time. Khichadi was much appreciated and everyone wanted to know how it was fluffy and soft. People had to part with a valuable for me to giveaway that little secret. Kidding guys the answer is simple - the rava has to be roasted.

Khichadi - Mixed Vegetables Masala Upma
1. 2 Cups of cream of wheat (I use 1 : 2 1/4 ratio cream of wheat : water) (see Note)
2. 1 1/2 cups of mixed vegetables (I used carrots,beans and peas)
3. 6-8 green chilies slit
4. 1 tbsp of finely chopped mint + 1 tbsp of finely chopped coriander
5. 1/2 -3/4 cup of chopped shallots or red onion
6. 1 tbsp grated ginger
7. 1 tomato chopped fine
8. 2 tsp turmeric powder
9. 1 tsp red chili powder (optional)
10. seasonings: curry leaves, mustard, cumin
11. salt to taste
12. 4 1/2 cups of water
13. 2 tsp of oil
14. roasted broken cashews (optional)

1. Roast the cream of wheat till it turns a slightly brown color about (10-15 minutes). Set aside to cool. In the meantime put the required amount of water in a sauce pan to boil.
2. In a large sauce pan or kadai heat oil and add the seasonings cumin first, mustard and when it starts to pop the curry leaves.
3. Add the slit green chilies and onion and saute till the onions are starting to get translucent.
4. Add in the ginger and saute for a few more minutes.
5. Add in the turmeric powder and salt. Mix well.
6. Add the tomatoes and saute till it becomes mushy and soft.
7. Add the green beans and carrots and saute for a couple of minutes. Mix in the chili powder if using. Add a 1/2 cup of the boiling water and cover and let cook till the vegetables are soft.
8. Now add the remaining water and the peas (I used frozen peas hence added them here otherwise add them along with the other vegetables).
9. Let the water come to a rolling boil. Turn the flame all the way to low.
10. Now add in the cream of wheat, all the while stirring to avoid any lumps.
11. Place the lid and let it be in the heat (do not turn up the flame) for 4-5 minutes.
12. Turn of the heat, add the cashews and fluff with a spoon.

Serve with coconut chutney or a spicy onion chutney.
Note: I use the Quaker Cream of Wheat and not the Indian sooji and the proportion of water is for that.


  1. Yo may call what ever you want thisd dish, looks so good.

  2. I don't think I've made upma this way with tomatoes, mint and coriander looks delicious.

  3. Love this upma, makes me hungry.

  4. Cream of wheat == rava ? (Pardon my ignorance) I love Upma with lots of ghee :)

  5. Sandeepa - Yes
    Cream of Wheat is sooji or rava. I prefer Cream of Wheat to the finer Indian one.

  6. I've used cream of wheat for making idlis ... they come out great. The khichadi looks like a good option. Is it eaten as is or with chutney on the side?

  7. I love this version tastes good with semia too rt? rava khichadi and chutney is heaven..You know what I remember your ability to make perfect paav baji during the marathon and you cant make pani and poori..c'mon!

  8. Sharmila, I like to eat it as is but mostly with a pickle or coconut chutney.

  9. Hello,

    IO have been reading your blog for a while, its great! In the list of ingredients, you mention you use 1:2.25 ratio for creamofwheat:water But you mention 3.5 cups of water for boiling. Please clarify. I have always wanted to make good upma or khichadi, but never have the courage because of the water proportion. Thanks!

  10. I love upma and so does the little one. Looks delish!

  11. Anonymous, sorry about that. It should have read 4 1/2 cups. Also note that I have used the Quaker Cream of Wheat and not the Indian Variety one. The general rule of thumb is to keep the flame all the way down when adding the rava and moreover when the rava has been added to the hot water there should not be more than a couple of tablespoons of water left. If there is more keep the lid open and the flame slightly higher so all the water gets absorbed. Cooking time is 4-5 minutes after the rava has been added.
    Hope this helps. I will love to know how it turned out for you.

  12. We call this rava khichdi and love the slightly wetter consistency than upma. You have got it perfect - not easy Shen making rava khichdi or upma!


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