Every once in a while I find my fridge laden with left over rice. If I am the only one pottering in the kitchen we could detect the leftovers in time, but what with my husband donning the apron sometimes, these leftovers just go unnoticed behind more leftovers in the refrigerator! I complain about them a lot, but many a time they do come in handy especially when I reach home from a long day at work, and my daughter wants me to rustle up something quick because she claims she has been ‘starving’ for nearly an hour!
One such day, I dove into the refrigerator hunting for leftovers, and predictably ‘P’ who was the previous night’s cook had saved a whole vessel of steamed rice sitting in the recesses. This went into the ‘Baayamma Upma’ you see today. Depending upon the intensity of your hunger, you can have this just plain like ‘phodni chi bhaat’, or dressed up with assorted, chopped veggies like carrots, potatoes, beans or peas.
Etymology and Origin: Baayamma Upma:
Baayamma – Name of Granny’s domestic help in Chennai in the 60s.
Upma – See here! My earliest recollection of actually relishing this is when I returned from school during a cyclone, all wet and cold, treated myself to a hot bath, and allowed my nose to guide me to the divine smell from the kitchen! Mummy had just prepared this quick dish to warm us up! When I asked her who taught her, she told me that Granny used to rustle up this one when her domestic help complained about headaches or fever or hunger to make her feel better! How fortunate, I thought! This is an easy and quick dish, I am sure many of you make, and have given it your own names. Baayamma must have grown old and probably left us all, but she remains here in my kitchen, and now will pass on to my daughter’s too.
Recipe: Baayamma upma – Left-over rice, seasoned (Phodni chi bhaat)
Split bengal gram / chana dal (Optional)
Oil – 1 tbsp.
Heat Oil. Splutter the mustard seeds. Add Groundnuts and Chana dal, and fry till pink. Add Chopped Onions. Fry till pink. Add the rice and mix well. Serve hot.
Here is the plain version: