Story by Thayamma, Turuvekere
Growing amidst farm lands was magical. Lush green fields and coconut groves were not just passing scenery but a way of life for me. I remember my mother helping my father in the fields.

Seeing them sow and reap together, be it under the hot sun or pouring rain, imprinted the importance of love on my siblings and me. I remember a small festival that was celebrated in our village. It was kind of a harvest festival and we would take the idol of our goddess out in the farm fields and worship Her there. It was not a grand festival but a celebration of the farming life and the rich crops we harvested throughout the year.

The most memorable part of the festival was the preparation of dishes like obbattu and kajjaya. I would often help my mother in the kitchen. We would wake up at the crack of dawn and start with the preparations. Then having those sumptuous dishes out in the fields was our reward after an entire day of hard work and celebration.

Working here with Grain Stories helps me remain close to the rural life even after all these years away from home. Surrounded by grains and cereals take me back to those days in the farm with my parents and four siblings. I remember the early mornings we spent in our little hut having upma for breakfast. We loved the bowls of upma our mother kept waiting for us at the beginning each day. But the upma that she used to prepare was not of rawa or suji. She made her upma of broken rice, which is called Nucchakki upma in the Kannada cuisine. I often make this for my son just as my mother used to make it for us. Both my son and I enjoy making it together and it has remained our favorite throughout the years.

Recipe for Nucchakki Upma

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of broken rice
  • 1 teaspoon of chana dal
  • 1 teaspoon of urad dal
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 green chili
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee or oil
  • Salt as per taste
  • Sugar as per taste

Directions

  1. Dry roast the broken rice and grind it to a coarse mixture.
  2. Now, heat a pan and roast the mixture but do not brown the ground rice.
  3. Put the roasted rice aside.
  4. Heat ghee or oil in the same pan and add mustard seeds.
  5. As the mustard seeds begin to crackle, fry cumin seeds, chana dal and urad dal until golden brown.
  6. Sauté chopped onion till they become translucent.
  7. Fry chopped green chili, grated ginger and curry leaves for a minute and add about 2-2 1/2 cups of water.
  8. Season with salt and sugar and stir it well.
  9. As the water comes to a boil, add the roasted ground rice and keep stirring on medium flame.
  10. Put a lid on the pan and let it cook for a minute or two on low flame.
  11. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

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