Breakfast Bulgar Upma


I love savory breakfast foods. On Philadelphia’s first snowing morning this winter, I wanted a warm, heating porridge, and found a great option in Whole Grains for a New Generation. Upma is a spicy Indian mush – but don’t let that dull description fool you! This breakfast porridge had loads of texture, and bold flavors.

I had no teff in the pantry, but substituted some bulgar, which is made from the farro grain. I fried the onion, garlic and spices first, then added the grains, an additional half cup of tomato sauce, and some salt, and this rich, spicy porridge was finished in 20 minutes. I topped mine with some greek yogurt, but a soft boiled egg, and scallions would be wonderful, as well, as would the addition of some homemade Indian lemon pickle. As the original recipe suggests, you could also use teff, farina, or any type of cracked whole wheat grain, and I suspect that polenta would also be wonderful.

Breakfast Bulgar Upma

1 Tbs. Canola Oil

1 small onion, or 2 shallots, diced

2 cloves of garlic

1 fresh red or green chili (or one hot, red dried chili)

1 tsp. crushed chili sauce

1/2 tsp. dried ginger or 1 tsp. fresh, minced

10 dried or fresh curry leaves

1 tsp. brown mustard seeds

1/2 tsp. ground cayenne  or  other chili powder

1 tsp. hot curry powder

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup raw bulgar

1.5 cups water

Heat the oil in a nice large saucepan dutch oven. Add the chopped onion and garlic, and saute on medium just until it begins to brown. Toss in the dried spices, stirring, until they release fragrance (about 10 seconds) then add the tomato and chili sauces, stirring well. Add the bulgar, salt, and water, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the bulgar is soft, but still toothsome, and your porridge has reached a thick consistency. Top with yogurt, fresh herbs, soft eggs, or fried shallots.


Bulgar Salad with Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese

Bulgar Salad with Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese
Bulgar Salad with Baby Heirloom Tomatoes, Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese

Perhaps you’ve noticed that it’s too hot to cook. But I wasn’t going to let my beautiful swiss chard, soon to wilt, go to waste. I made this quick salad with bulgar (or cracked wheat) that is an easy-to-cook whole grain. Much like couscous, you just have to cover it with hot water and let it soak until it gets soft (between 15 and 30 minutes). I lightly fried the chard stems with garlic and olive oil, then add thinly sliced chard leaves and a little white white to soften them. Baby heirloom tomatoes sliced in half, a splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar, half a handful of fresh chopped parsley, and a sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese, sea salt and fresh ground pepper and I was ready to eat. I suspect the salad will be even better for lunch tomorrow, after it has had time to chill in the refrigerator.