My mother prepares broken wheat in a very interesting fashion. In India, you generally either prepare it like porridge, with milk and sweetened with sugar or jaggery (molasses) or honey or prepare upma with it. My mother makes a savoury version of it with a mixed dal batter. For those of you who know what it is, the manner my mother prepares dalia is essentially broken wheat with paruppu usli.
Paruppu Usli is nothing but mixed lentils ground into a coarse batter and steamed into cakes that are then crumbled. You could call it mixed lentil crumble actually. Instead of cooking the dalia and steaming the paruppu usli separately, Amma adds the dal batter to dalia and cooks them together. I know I’m putting this all down in a rather confusing fashion. I should probably just put up the recipe in a post!
Actually, that’s what I set out to do last evening. Halfway through all the preparation I realised there was no dalia at home. Since I had to come up with an upma recipe, it being my theme of this week’s Blogging Marathon, and I not wanting to put up another Oata Upma or Sabudana or plain Bread Upma, I though I’d try putting together toasted bread bits with the lentil crumble. I know I have quite a few lentil crumble recipes on the blog (Adai Maavu Usli, Poha with Ulutham Poornam, Poornam Sevai), but I really love them and love to use it in unusual combinations.
My mother-in-law found it quite funny when I was working towards the toasted bread paruppu usli. It was quite an unusual upma, but did come together rather nicely. It was it worked wonderfully well as a starter chaat item after I topped it with some chopped onions and tomatoes and my nephew preferred it this way. It is totally optional though and I liked it as it is too. Do try it!
Bread Paruppu Usli
Bread – 3 slices
Toor dal (split pigeon peas) – 1/8 cup
Chana Dal (Bengal gram) – 1/8 cup
Red chilli – 1
Green chilli – 1
Curry leaves – a few
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Urad dal (split and dehusked black gram) – 1 tsp (optional)
Soak the toor and chana dals together in enough water to cover the dals along with the red chilli for an hour and grind with minimal water into a coarse batter
Add salt and steam it for 10-15 mins till it forms a nice dry and lumpy cake OR Microwave for 2-3 minutes in 30 second bursts, mixing well each time till it starts to look somewhat dry here and there
Break into smaller lumps once cool
Toast bread till crip and break into tiny bits. Alternatively, finely chop bread slices and roast till crisp with some butter or clarified butter
Heat oil and add mustard seeds
When mustard stops popping, add urad dal if using
Add asafoetida, curry leaves and green chilli (slit through the middle) once urad dal starts turning golden brown
Add lentil crumble. Mix well and scrape at the bottom of the pan every other minute, else it will brown too much
Add bread bits and toss well
Cook for a few minutes till lentil crumble mixes well with bread
Serve topped with chopped onions and tomatoes (optional)