Upma is a savory dish made in Southern India, usually involving cream of wheat or cream of rice. This bread upma, which is best described as an Indian version of American stuffing, is usually made when we end up with several end pieces of bread accumulating in the fridge. It’s very easy to make and is generally eaten for breakfast in India. If a spicy or savory breakfast is just not your thing, you can certainly eat this for lunch or dinner or anytime in between. And of course, you don’t have to wait till you have a bunch of crusts before you make this – you can also cheat and just chop up perfectly whole slices of bread.
1T canola oil
½ t turmeric powder
½ t mustard seeds
1 red onion, diced
2 yellow potatoes, diced
5 green chilis, julienned
1T red chili powder
Salt to taste
Juice of half a lemon
8 slices of bread, cut into 1” cubes
1T fresh or frozen coconut**
4 T finely minced cilantro
Heat oil in a pan and add turmeric and mustard.
When mustard seeds start popping, add onion and sautee till browned
Add potatoes, green and red chilies, and salt
Cook covered until potatoes are fork tender
Toss in bread and lemon juice and cook for about 5 minutes until bread is tender and has absorbed some of the spices from the potato mixture
Add coconut and cook a minute longer.
Take off heat, and garnish with cilantro and additional lemon juice, if desired.
*The consistency of this dish should be a little dryer than American stuffing. If bread starts to look too dry while cooking, sprinkle some water and allow bread to tenderize.
**If all you have is dessicated coconut, soak 1 T of this in some warm water for 5 minutes before adding to the upma. If all you have is sweetened coconut flakes, just throw it away, and don't ever buy it again!