Ragi Vegetable Uppittu

A heavy breakfast is the order here. Somehow all the three of us thrive on a heavy breakfast. Now that they say breakfast is good for us. Back home it has always been that way. The typical routine of a school back home used to be something like this ..

6 AM wake up: The whole household would be up by then. My mother would have finished her ablutions, prayers and would be busy preparing breakfast/lunch etc.
6-9 AM:  Study a bit and play a bit, drink a cup of scalded and cooled fresh milk somewhere along the way. Some more play/ finishing home work in a hurry
9 to 9.45 AM: Bath, breakfast and get ready to school.
10. to 5.00 PM: School
5.15 PM : Walk back home, change into play clothes and go to the street to play with the kids in the neighborhood. Play till sundown. My mother's rule was that we are home as soon as the street lights turned on. But we bargained for the 5 minutes -10 minutes and played till it got really dark. Rest of the evening was spent in studies, dinner and the whole household was bed by 10 PM. In fact the whole neighborhood would be shutdown by ten! Except for the ticking grandfather clock in my house and our neighbor's house (i.e my maternal grandfather's house) and the occasional howl of stray dogs, it would be completely silent.

And then there would be power cuts. We would have no electricity for a few hours, it is still common back home and life just goes on. Here in USA, if there is no electricity, all hell breaks loose. During those power cuts especially during summers, we would all sit in our Veranda and Amma would narrate us stories. She is an excellent story teller and many kids would come running if they got to know that the story sessions were on. We loved power cuts. We then did not have to study.

Life has changed so much since then. With the advent of cable TV, we do not see the aunties gossiping - they are all so busy with serials. Kids no long play on the street- it has become a dangerous place now. Besides with all the classes they are sent to every day of the week, they hardly have time to play. Why did we end up here? It is such a sad loss of community life something today's kids will never know.

Back to the heavy breakfast idea.  Sunny boy is somewhat a picky eater. I guess most kids of his age are. It is indeed a challenge to make him eat his vegetables and whole grains. He loved Idlis and Dosas but they are all made of refined rice. (experiments to use more whole grains in Idlis and Dosa is currently on at Kannada Cuisine kitchen, I will post the recipes one I am happy with the results) . I am currently in the experiment mode combining millets and vegetables -a great combination of hardly whole grains and vegetables.
This Ragi uppittu with Vegatables tastes great and is choke full of vegetables. It tastes great too and we all love it.
As usual I made it in my wide bottomed cast iron Kadai and love the result. I recommend using a well seasoned cast iron Kadai like this one or a non stick Kadai (I have not been using non stick cookware for years now).

We will need,

Ragi flour 1.5 cups
Water or buttermilk 1 cup or so
Peanut oil 3-4 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Cumin 1/4 tsp
Hing a generous dash
Channa dal 1 tbsp
Urad dal 1tbsp
Green chillies slit 5-6 (adjust according to taste)
Curry leaves a handful
Onions 3 medium diced
Cabbage shredded 1 heaping cup
Carrots shredded2
Coconut grated 1/4 cup
Coriander fresh a handful
Salt and lemon juice to taste.


  • Place the flour in a mixing bowl and sprinkle a few tablespoons of water. Rub the water into the flour breaking all the lumps. It should start resembling breadcrumbs. Alternately place the flour in a food processor and stream in the water/buttermilk till the flour is just moist and resembles breadcrumbs. All of the water might not be used up or more might be needed. Some flours absorb more liquids and some do not. So it is a good idea to go a tablespoon at a time. Once it looks like breadcrumbs, set it aside
  • Heat oil in the Kadai. Once hot, throw in the mustard seeds, cumin, hing, Channa dal, Urad dal, green chillies and curry leaves in quick succession. The spices will splutter. Stir once the spices splutter.
  •  Throw in the shredded Onions, saute for a minute. Throw in the Cabbage, Carrots and coconut. Reduce heat  and cover. Cook till the vegetables are tender crisp.
  • Stir in the prepared ragi flour mixture. Keep moving the mixture, it does have the tendency to stick to the bottom and burn. 
  • Once the mixture turns to a deep shade of brown and is nutty, fragrant adjust salt and lemon juice. Stir in the fresh coriander. Cook for a few a minutes. The mixture should start to leave sides once it is cooked. Remove from heat and serve hot. Yogurt is an excellent with this Uppittu.

Akki Shivige Chitranna

Akki Shavige or rice vermicelli used to be a love of labor. When we were young Shavige was something we got to eat when we visited our grandparents during our summer vacation. It was like a festival. The whole family would get together and my maternal grandmother -Ammaji as I call her used to prep a huge vat full of rice flour. All the women in the family would then start working on grating coconuts for the Kayihalu. They would grate half a dozen coconut in the huge Eligemane -the wooden plank with a knife/grater fit into to it. Then the other team would prep vegetables needed to make this kind of savory chitranna . The whole kitchen would be teaming with all the ladies chatting and working hard to make the meal a success. It would then be the time to make the vermicelli itself with the huge brass vermicelli press.

The prepared rice flour balls were put in the slot and the handle pressed to squeeze out the tight rice balls into thin yummy goodness. It did require a lot of muscle power and the women could not have handled it all by themselves. My youngest maternal uncle Babu mama would then step in. The six plus tallest and presumably the stronger member of the family would keep at it till all the rice balls are neatly converted into piles of Shavige.

Once that was done, the Shavige were divided into two portions, one to be consumed with Kayihalu and the other converted into a savory Chitranna or  Uppittu. These days we are a generation of convenience all we need to so is cut the pack of vermicelli open and soak it in hot water for a minute and drain. Snip it using a pair of scissors. And lo behold the vermicelli is ready. So here we go.

We will need,

Rice Vermicelli  prepared as per package instruction   3 cups
Mixed vegetables small diced  2 cups ( I used a combination of green beans ,carrots and green peppers)
Peanut oil 4 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Jeera 1/4 tsp
Hing a generous dash
Curry leaves a handful
Green Chillies 4-5 slit in the middle into two
Turmeric a generous pinch
Ginger grated 1 tsp
Juice of one lime
Salt to taste.

  • Prepare the vermicelli as per the package instructions. Using a pair of scissors cut the long stings into shorter more manageable strings. Dice vegetables but save it separately because cooking times of different vegetables vary.
  • Heat the oil in a Kadai. I use my new cast iron Kadai in the picture above and I absolutely love it. Throw in the mustard seeds, Jeera, hing, curry leaves and Green Chillies. Once they stop spluttering add the turmeric and stir.
  • Throw in the diced carrots and beans. Cover and cook till the vegetables are tender crisp. Throw in the green peppers, ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Reduce heat and fold in the vermicelli gently. Add the lime juice and adjust salt. Typically the commercial vermicelli is already salted so this preparation need lot less salt than would the home made variety. Stir the mixture gently to combine the vegetables and the vermicelli. Heat it through and serve warm.