Upma

UPMA
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Upma is a popular recipe in Southern India made of Semolina/Cracked Wheat/Cream of Wheat/Suji – known as Godhum in Sanskrit. Suji comes in 3 sizes: Fine, Course and Upma which is a mid-grade. Cream of Wheat is finer than Upma grade.
Wheat is a superfood when cooked in an Ayurvedic way. Must dry roast the wheat to add ushna (hot) and laghu (light) guna (qualities) to the wheat.

Wheat has gotten a bad rap due to false research that has now been proven to be false by the same guy that discovered gluten sensitivity. He has completed 3 research projects that has conclusively proven gluten intolerance to be incorrect. What does this say about the 30% of Americans and the 15 billion dollar business that has been created off of this popular fad?
http://www.businessinsider.com/gluten-sensitivity-proven-false-2014-7
The “easy to understand from an Ayurvedic standpoint” story explains it all. If your digestion is really garbage for a very long time and you continue to eat poorly and heavy foods that don’t digest, you body develops allergies to those heavy foods and/or the foods that aggravate the doshic imbalance that the come out in the weak tissue and corresponding srotas affected. It is really just that easy. This is the same that i have been saying for years before the gluten intolerance even raised its ugly head. We do not have any concept of heavy or light qualities and how they digest, we do not have any discernable way to see digestive capacity of an individual, and we do not have any way to diagnose digestion beyond you eat heavy nutrient dense foods because they are healthy for you. Kinda shines some light on things, doesn’t it?
Think of what eating gooey bread is quality wise? Heavy. Hard to digest. Americans seem pulled to all the foods that are this way because they feed the desires and make you feel good. Says plenty. Eat by the tongue and you will have a short and unhappy life.

Godhum is Madhur (sweet) Rasa, it pacifies Pitta and Vata and can increase Kapha.
Rice is laghu (light), and therefore not a best friend to Vayu, plus adds more Aap (water) to Kapha than godhum does.
Wheat however is guru (heavy), so is better for Vayu. It has more Parthiv, so good for mansa (muscle), asthi (bone), and shukra (reproductive) dhatus (tissues). Known as an aphrodisiac. (Another better aphrodisiac is dates because they also help with spermatogenesis)
In the Punjab, they eat more wheat than in the south where they eat more rice. Punjabis have more ojas, are more solid and muscular than southern Indians.

Roasting Wheat – Can dry roast wheat and store bottled at room temperature in a glass jar on the counter. Dry roasting lessens kleda (moisture) in the grain so it doesn’t attract bugs or mold. Must roast wheat to add ushna and laghu. You can roast and keep for 2-3 weeks.
To dry roast wheat, cook on medium heat. Cook until it smells fragrant like popcorn and toast.
Wheat is stoutening – it densifies bones and muscles. Warrior food. Balakala – give bala (strength) to the system. Jivanaya – food that gives you life. When you take wheat in, broken parts get healed – fractures etc.

Wheat is Pachaka (digestive) – ok for Vata,Pitta and Kapha. Nourishment for Vata and Pitta.
It has a special function to connect broken pieces- even muscles with tears.
Wheat is used in special Ladhus for post-delivery recovery

Godhum – Even though it is increasing, the way we cook it affects whether Kapha increasing or not – can be used in weight management. (really see here that the actions done to a substance will change how the body can digest it as well as the qualities it bestows)
If you are “wheat intolerant”, work on improving your agni, then you can eat wheat after slowly acclimating a couple teaspoons at a time.

Yellow mustard – not as hot, but still has Pachaka quality.
Black mustard – slightly more hot with Pachaka quality.

To make Upma
1. Boil water in big pot
2. In separate pan, heat a little ghee, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, onion. Don’t need a lot of ghee because it will be mainly boiled. Cook until onion nearly translucent, then add carrots and peas. If using frozen peas (not ideal at all), thaw and drain before adding. (never place a frozen food into a hot pan or with other hot and cooked substances) Peas are especially good for Pitta and Kapha, but ok for Vata as well.
3. When the vegetables are lightly cooked, add boiling water to them – enough to cover the vegetables plus ½ knuckles of water above the vegetables. Too much water will make the dish like a soggy halwa with vegetables. The right amount of water will make it like a firm rice.
4. Bring to a boil, then add Godhum slowly while stirring. When it comes back to a boil, turn off and cover. The godhum will soak up the rest of the water. Because we roasted the wheat before hand, the wheat becomes “hungry” and soaks up the water.
5. Serve once the godhum has soaked up all the water.
* Note: it’s better to add to little water and then be able to add more if necessary, than to add to much water at the beginning.

Qualities = Madhura (sweet), Shita (cold), Snigdha (oily), not heating. Even Pitta needs some spices to support their agni.

Don’t add tomato (aggravates Pitta) or excessive ghee (aggravates Kapha) or Cauliflower (aggravates Vata) or Chilis (aggravates Pitta).

This dish is good for all doshas or tridoshic as it is called, but you could also add some other spices for additional digestibility. Adding a dash of lemon when serving (never cook lemon), can help digestion, because this dish is Guru (heavy). It is even good for Kapha and Vata, as it is not atisheeta (excessively cooling). The recipe is less aap than it is parthiv.

Rochaka – gives the desire to eat something. Appetizing foods.

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26 thoughts on “Upma

    • Great question. I personally buy upma/suji (wheat) at the indian markets. Products from India. Are they better? Well, that is a hard one to say. Since the food in the US is such a big deal and the laws on what is organic are to the bend that organic is not really organic, what to do? I actually trust indian products more than the US products. They almost always taste healthier and produce better end products. Why is this? I could go into several reasons why I might have the experience of this but all would be subjective. When I am in India, my experience of the food, say upma, is way healthier than what I can make in the US with US products. When I make upma from suji purchased at an indian grocer, it comes out as a better end product, tastes better and digests much easier. This is all I can go off of. Unfortunately, the age that we are in, in America it is very hard to be able to buy a local grain and have it milled fresh.
      Hope that helps.
      I guess the last thing I would add is to watch out for all the additives and perservatives in the Indian products but the suji should not have any. Also do not buy the already toasted suji as it normally has palm oil or another oil in it.

    • Dear Brad,

      As far as I know the european organic label has some value over the conventional foods. As I want to eat light I wanted to buy sona masoori rice and unhulled mung beans. I doubt we have easily digestible beans growing here in the Netherlands, perhaps we have some small ones a bit bigger than mung, but size doesn’t say all (black gram being heavy) hmm. I can buy the mung and rice with an organic label, which is almost double the price of conventional. Is Indian organic solely a marketing device to heighten the prices or perhaps you might know there is actually a difference here?

    • unofrtuanately, there is not anyway to tell without tracking it all down and doing deep research. Knowing that most of everything in India is a cheat in one way or another, I do not really trust their “organic” certification. That being said, what else is there to be done? Eat conventional that you know is ful of pesticides? By the way, watch out on the rapeseed oil. Do some research to see if it is real or not.

    • Ugh, I thought it would be fine. It’s organic dynamic (demeter) which usually means… plants that are better taken care off.. produced on a smaller scale. However I looked it up anyway and apparently it is labeled as “inadequate” by german organic standards, because they found mineral oil in it.

      Recently I also found out the dried organic apricots my family and I used to eat are being “shock-frozen” and pasteurized. I’m really starting to think I have to start researching every single thing I put in my mouth. Really annoying.

    • Yes Jesse, Unfortunately, the truth is you cannot trust anything today. Especially if it is coming out of India. Labels are nothing and certifications are actually nothing as well. Many companies (people) just buy a certification believe it or not.

    • Will try some of 24mantras products. Sona Masoori rice, finger millet, spices. Definitely not sure about them, but like you said, what are our options? Other than researching every single item one buys, but who’s got time for that?

    • I tend to experience their product as pretty good. Very very expensive but pretty good. Your starting to see that the only way you can be assured the quality of any product is to make it yourself. I have used the examples before of Banyan Botanicals…. https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/mahanarayan-oil/ …… 25 or so ingredients if you read the ingredient list that is the button halfway down the page…… and then compare it to the ingredients in the real recipe …. people don’t know what they don’t know. What is in what you are buying????

      Mahanarayana Tailam ingredients:
      960 g of each of coarse powder of –
      Bilva – Bael (root) – Aegle marmelos
      Ashwagandha – Winter Cherry / Indian ginseng – Withania somnifera
      Brihati – Indian Nightshade (root) – Solanum indicum
      Swadamshtra – Tribulus terrestris
      Shyonaka – Oroxylum indicum
      Bala – Country mallow (root) – Sida cordifolia
      Paribhadra – Erythrina variegate
      Kshudra – Solanum xanthocarpum
      Kathila – Boerhaavia diffusa
      Atibala – Abutilon indicum
      Agnimantha – Premna corymbosa / mucronata Root
      Prasarini – Paederia foetida
      Patala – Trumpet (root) – Sterospermum suaveolens
      Water for decoction – 98.304 liters, boiled and reduced to 24.576 liters.
      Taila – Oil of Sesamum indicum – 6.144 kg
      Ajadugdha – Goat milk – 6.144 liters
      Shatavari – Asparagus racemosus – juice extract – 6.144 liters
      Paste prepared with 96 g of fine powder of each of –
      Rasna- Pluchea lanceolata
      Ashwagandha – Winter Cherry / Indian ginseng (root) – Withania somnifera
      Mishi – Indian Dill (fruit) 0 Anethum sowa / Peucedanum graveolens
      Daru – Himalayan Cedar (bark) – Cedrus deodara
      Kushta – Saussurea lappa
      Shalaparni – Desmodium gangeticum
      Prishniparni – Root – Uraria picta
      Mudgaparni – Phaseolus trilobus
      Mashaparni – Teramnus labialis Spreng.
      Agaru – Aquilaria agallocha
      Nagakeshara – Mesua ferrea
      Saindhava – Rock Salt
      Mamsi – Nardostachys jatamansi
      Haridra – Turmeric Rhizome – Curcuma Longa
      Daruharidra – Tree turmeric (stem) – Berberis aristata
      Shaileya – Parmelia perlata
      Chandana – Pterocarpus santalinus
      Pushkara – Inula racemosa
      Ela – Cardamom – Elettaria cardamomum
      Manjishta – Indian Madder (root) – Rubia cordifolia
      Yashtimadhu – Licorice – Glycyrrhiza glabra
      Tagara – Indian Valerian (root) – Valeriana wallichi
      Abda – Nut grass (root) – Cyperus rotundus
      Patra – Cinnamomum tamala
      Bhringaraja – Eclipta alba
      Jivaka – Malaxis acuminata D.Don / Microstylis wallichii Lindl.
      Rishabhaka – Manilkara hexandra (Roxb.) Dubard / Mimusoops hexandra Roxb.
      Meda – Polygonatum cirrhifolium
      Mahameda – Polygonatum verticillatum
      Kakoli – Fritillaria roylei
      Ksheera Kakolii – Lilium polyphyllum
      Riddhi – Habenaria intermedia
      Vriddhi – Habenaria intermedia
      Ambu – Pavonia odorata
      Vacha – Sweet flag (rhizome) – Acorus calamus
      Sthauneya – Clerodendrum infortunatum Linn./ viscosum Vent. Gaertn.
      Vrishchikali – Boerhavia erecta
      Choraka – Angelica glauca
      Karpoora – Camphor – Cinnamomum camphora – 48 g
      Kashmeera – Saffron – Crocus sativus – 48 g
      Mrigamada – Musk – 48 g

      and this reference of Mahanarayana Taila is from Bhaishajya Ratnavali Vatavyadhi Rogadhikara – 151 – 162

      So yes, what are the options if you don’t have the knowledge that is behind the ability to discern?

      Especially in the world today where it is about charisma and being liked and yelp.com people that have no knowledge of something judging that they like it or not rather than real knowledge and skill being seen. What to do?

    • Indeed very expensive. I can get my hands on Chakra aswell as Elite sona masoori in 5kg´s, but those are conventional. Which do you like using? Do you research it all or do you test it by taste, texture, effect on your body?

      What amazes me is not only that the pop ayurveda sells things that aren´t what they seem to be, but also how incredibly complex these original medicines are! How many herbs, all having their specific qualities, combined into one, amazing! Makes me wonder who (and how one) comes up with that.

      I´m not familiar with yelp. Ah, I see, it´s a rating site where everyone can put their opinions and reccomendations on stuff. Did you see the short documentary on a guy who gets to the rank of having the #1 restaurant of one of those sites (perhaps it is Yelp actually) without it even existing in the first place. Then after months of lying he decides to invite people over to eat for one or two nights. Making them really crap food presented in an unusual way. Many people loved it though. They even went as far as putting actors to eat on the rooftop of a shed.. making it seem like an extraordinary place.

      The arsenic, lead and copper they found in some oils. I wonder if copper is really as bad as we make it to be. You’re right I and many others have no place to judge these things from. For example the reply of the rapeseed oil retailer sent me which I put in a comment below the Sambharo cabbage post.. really don’t know what to do with that. Who can decide to what extent and in what dosage something is toxic when considering all the people that might use it? I get comments now and then when drinking from a copper cup, that I might get a copper overdose and whatnot, but I guess in India they´ve done this for centuries with no problems (perhaps not using sour stuff in it as it can oxidize it quite heavily?).

      Found sand or little stones in my himalayan (pakistan) salt. Haha, quite an adventure getting something decent.

    • Trying to be a bit clearer:

      Indeed very expensive. I can get my hands on Chakra aswell as Elite sona masoori in 5kg´s, but those are conventional. Which do you like using? Do you research it all or do you test it by taste, texture, effect on your body?

      What amazes me is not only that the pop ayurveda sells things that aren´t what they seem to be, but also how incredibly complex these original medicines are! How many herbs, all having their specific qualities, combined into one, amazing! Makes me wonder who (and how one) comes up with that.

      I´m not familiar with yelp. Ah, I see, it´s a rating site where everyone can put their opinions and reccomendations on stuff. Did you see the short documentary on a guy who gets to the rank of having the #1 restaurant of one of those sites by putting fake reviews, photo’s and recipes (perhaps it is Yelp actually) without it any of it even existing in the first place. Then after months of lying and making things up he decides to invite people over to eat in his back garden for one or two nights. Making them really crap food presented in an unusual way that makes it look interesting. Many people loved it and would come back while they were really just messing with them. They even went as far as putting actors to eat on the rooftop of a shed.. making it seem like an extraordinary, “random” and special place.

      The arsenic, lead and copper they found in some oils. I wonder if copper is really as bad as we make it to be. You’re right I and many others have no place to judge these things from. For example the reply that the rapeseed oil retailer sent me which I put in a comment below your Sambharo cabbage post.. really don’t know what to do with that. Who can decide to what extent and in what dosage something is toxic when considering all the different people that might use it? I get comments now and then when drinking from a copper cup, that I might get a copper overdose and whatnot, but I guess in India they´ve done this for centuries with no problems (perhaps not using sour stuff in it as it can oxidize it quite heavily?).

      Found sand or little stones in my himalayan (pakistan) salt. Haha, quite an adventure getting something decent.

    • Yes, this is just the bigger truth of what is going on out there unfortunately. I can’t really guide you because I do not know what products you have access to in Nederlands. Sona Massouri is just one of the several 60 Day harvest rices out there. Basmati is not. Just FYI. Do your homework, research. And don’t grow fearful as most people eat stuff that is 1000 times worse every day. And yes, do not put anything sour in copper unless your cleaning it. This would be more of the very obvious dangers with selling products to naive people. You don’t drink from the copper cup all the time. If we just follow what is a fad or a pop health culture new push without any deeper knowledge, most likely it will be harmful. Chakra 4 is a decent brand.

    • Any reason you added the “4” with the chakra? Yeah I read several times what you wrote about basmati. Quite a shock haha.

      I used to drink from copper vessels all the time. Copper cup, copper water bottle. Now, not anymore. I grew tired of it after some time. Glad I did now. Drinking from it almost everyday though. Not sure why.

    • Yeah.. that´s 24 mantra… the one we spoke about before in the comments above. Hand pounded? Interesting, I never heard of that before. I thought I had to look for ordinary white rice. Will check this out.

  1. I am cooking this tomorrow, only with wheat. I’ve added fenugreek seed, cumin seeds and, ginger. I’ll add cilantro afterwards. This sounds delicious so I will undoubtedly be adding a few other spices you have recommended on other posts.

    Would it be okay to keep the tempering ingredients in a container overnight?

  2. Quick question about the peanuts. I use blanched raw right now. I don’t seem to be having issues but this dish does make me very slightly gassy. Would it be ideal to roast these prior to cooking?

  3. Hello. Thank you for all this information. Can this dish still retain its tridoshic quality if we add a few cumin seeds & roasted peanuts, pinch of asafoetida, one chillie, ginger, little salt and sugar?

    • Hi.
      Yes, that sounds all good. I would not go so far as one whole chili but it also depends on season and everything. Say, if you are in India right now, Pitta is at its highest and treatments are going on for pitta due to this. The season is not one to be having excess katu rasa.
      If one is accustomed to it though, it is not going to effect as much. Say in a different country where they do not have upma like that but instead have a breakfast cereal of the same fashion like a thin Kshira, and their digestion as well as system is not used to having such katu type of foods, the amount of katu in the items you have added would send them over the edge. Number one their systems are not used to that type of food so it would not be satmya to their systems.
      Get the idea?
      Ayurveda is not at all one recipe to be followed all year around. Everything in Ayurveda is to understand the foundations and then using it constantly every moment of every day and every month and every season as well as ones age and understanding substances and their karmas and gunas as well as being able to see those same things in the desha where someone is. And then thrown in lastly is understanding ones own balance and consistently living towards that as well.

      So, please answer me your own question.
      Can this dish still retain its tridoshic quality if we add a few cumin seeds & roasted peanuts, pinch of asafoetida, one chillie, ginger, little salt and sugar?

    • A big NO, in my opinion. As you mentioned, godhum is vata-pitta pacifier and adding the above pungent spices will cancel out the dish’s very own quality. Seasonally, excess katu rasa is prohibited in autumn, even though in India, we are accustomed to these daily-used spices. And finally, with my current understanding of my own balance, it will do more harm than good.
      Thank you.

    • Yes, upma is fine for pitta dosha. Upma is generally made of wheat which is not heating. Be careful of the single dosha stuff being passed around. there is none, they a weakly and die early…… as per Charaka……..

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