Friday, October 03, 2008

Gajar Sanja and Kalayile Phovu

Gajar Sanja (R) & Kalayile Phovu(L)

Mridula has got me hooked to Kalayile Phovu. Her Dad packs this for her many times for the evening snack. Whenever we return together from office and that is not always she keeps the last of the three boxes for sharing.

At her engagement too they served Upma and Kalayile Phovu. I asked her if it was because she liked it that much or was it traditional. That's when I found out that this is a combination commonly served in Mangalore and surrounding areas. It is also a konkani preference.

It is Gandhi Jayanti (10/2) and a holiday so breakfast was made. I however changed the combo a bit. It is rather a traditional and non traditional alliance here of Gajar Sanja and Kalayile Phovu.

I had grated carrots (gajar) last night for salad and had leftovers that I needed to use up as we are going to a friend's house warming ceremony later this morning.

Now Sanja is different from upma in texture and the seasonings. Just as a kesari bhat is different from a sheera. Sanja is Marathi. It is fluffy unlike the soft scoop easy upma. The seasoning for Sanja is mustard seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder and peanuts. You will never find udid dal in the seasonings of a Sanja and where as it is a must in Upma.

In addition the technique of making Sanja is different from Upma in the way that semolina is not added to hot water but instead cold water is sprinkled on it from time to time to give it that fluff. Thus Sanja turns out drier than upma. In most Marathhi homes especially in Mumbai Upma and Sanja are names used interchangeably due to the influence of the Udupi restaraunts.

I personally prefer Upma more especially when I want to brood while eating breakfast and the teaspoon scooped morsel sits on the tongue for a while as I think about how the world function! ;) The Sanja is more demanding the spicing and the fluff make sure you either have a glass of water or tea by the side to wash it down.

Once in a while when I want to remind myself that I am a Marathi living in the south and must maitain the identity of my culinary culture I make Sanja. Actually I made it first time today after moving to Blr! :P

I'm sharing here the recipe of Sanja and if you are making Kalayile Phovu too follow Shilpa's recipe.


1 cup semolina
2 tablespoon peanuts
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
big pinch of asafoetida
1-2 green chilies
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
a few curry leaves
1 cup grated carrot (optional)
1 tablespoon oil
salt and sugar too taste
3/4 glass water approx.

Heat oil in a wok. Splutter mustard seeds. Follow in with curry leaves and asafoetida. Add the peanuts and fry till pink. At this point add semolina and roast till it becomes whitish and grainy. While you are roasting the semolina the peanuts will go from pink to red color.

Add the grated carrots. I used them only because I had leftovers they can be skipped. Traditionally veggies are not part of Sanja but many have started using them to make the morning breakfast powerpacked.

Keep roasting for a while then add salt and sugar as per taste. Add the chopped chilies, turmeric and red chili powder then mix. Intermittently sprinkle water over the semolina and give it a mix. Cover and cook. Check if the water is absorbed into the semolina grains and has made it plump and separated. If the semolina shows whitish color sprinkle more water and cover and cook for another 5 mins.

Put off heat and let the flavors meld for a while under the cover before serving.

Some may find the combo dryish so have your tea or coffee along with it.


  1. One of my favorite Breakfast Menu..


  2. Gajar Sanja must have yummy :)

  3. Thanks for the explanation...i always used to think that sanja and upma are one and the same. gajar sanja must surely add a different twist to the regular variety.

  4. looks yummy :). never heard them before.


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