Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Upma recipe wins $100,000

Upma worth $100,000

Hindustan Times

New Delhi, June 17, 2011First Published: 17:06 IST(17/6/2011)

Upma is to south India what bread and butter is to the rest of the world, and yet it took New York chef Floyd Cardoz a handful of mushrooms, some coconut milk and chicken stock to make it win the popular US TV show, Top Chef Masters (season 3). The Mumbai-born chef, who bagged the $100,000 title on Wednesday, made the dish under the category of his first food memory. “I remember having upma at home with my family with with tea but I have to make a little bit of changes to it,” said Cardoz on the show.

Traditionally a semolina-ginger-onion breakfast staple, it is now trending on Twitter and has made the country sit up and take notice of how a simple dish, not even on the menu of most gourmet restaurants in India, could prove a jackpot winner.

Cardoz named his prize-winning version ‘Wild Mushroom Upma Polenta with Kokum & Coconut Milk’.

Floyd Cardoz’s winning upma recipe

Four servings


2 cups cream of wheat
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shallots
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon chillies
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups coconut milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cilantro, as garnish
Pea shoots, as garnish

3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup oyster mushrooms
1/2 cup Maitake
1/2 cup king oyster mushrooms
2 shallots
1 chilli pepper
1 knob ginger
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup white port
1 tablespoons cilantro, chopped


1. Heat oil and cream of wheat and toast for 10 minutes on low heat. Remove from pan

2. Heat oil mixture then add mustard seeds and whisk until seeds pop. Add cumin and reserve

3. Heat pan. Add spice oil and butter. Add shallots, ginger, chillies, and cook for 2-4 minutes. Add cream of wheat and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add stock and coconut milk. Mix and cook. Simmer

4. Should be smooth.

Directions for mushrooms

1. Heat oil in sauté pan. Add mushrooms and cook with lightly coloured sear

2. Add butter, shallots, ginger and chilli

3. Deglaze with white port

4. Season with salt and pepper and cilantro.

What city chefs say

For us, upma scores high on nothing. It’s like a blob on a plate. Adding mushrooms and tomatoes to the original three-step recipe seems like an inspiration from its Italian variant, polenta

Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, Olive Bar & Kitchen

I think what made the dish click was the fusion spin. An upma made the traditional way may not have made such noise. He made the humble wheat dish look like gourmet

Chef Tarun Kapoor, The Metropolitan

While we go on aping the West, we tend to overlook our own dishes. It’s heartening that Floyd Cardoz chose to make something Indian. It must make all Indian chefs proud

Chef Debraj Halder, Suryaa

9 Fertilize my soul:

Zim said...

Most of this ingredients I can buy in shop near my home :) This dish looks like pudding and I think that even smells well.

Amrita said...

Yes Zim, like a salty pudding., You should try it.

I make the ordinary version of it. Can 't get these ingrediennts.

Mari said...

Amrita, Hola :) You know I enjoy new recipe, I haven't try upma, but it looks delicious from what I see by the ingredients. Lucky Chef!

Thanks for sharing and God bless :)

Terra said...

Dear Amrita, this recipe sounds like something my family would enjoy, and I never heard of it before your post here. Thank you.

Felisol said...

Dear Amrita,
To me this sounds not like a simple recipe, I'd probably use a week to gather the ingredients.
However I am happy or the Indian chef.
It's also so important for a nation to be proud of it's culture and traditions.
Double victory to India.

Cyndi Lacefield said...

I watched the whole season of the show. I was rooting for Floyd to win!!!! Yay!

Amrita said...

Flyod took this simple everyday dish and transformed it into a masterpiece. I make the simple one with semolina and add veggies in it.The papaers say this this dish is becoming quite popular in India and people want to add seafood to it.

I want to make polenta (Italian) which is made with cornmeal. But I can 't get Italian cornmeal , I wonder if I can substitute it with semolina???

Amrita said...

Today I tried Italian Polenta usiung semolina instead of yellow cornmeal. It was very basic, but it turned out good

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting about this. I don't watch much tv, at least I try not to watch too much.

But I remember flipping through the channels a few weeks ago, and saw this Indian man on tv. I had it in the back of my head that maybe I would catch this show again to find out who won, and I kind of forgot about it, I even forgot what the name of the show he was on, so thank you for posting this.