Vani’s Musings

Uppittina Upakathe

Posted on: October 12, 2008

During one of my people-observation phases, I came across a peculiar habit of persons around me. It sort of showcases the culture of the people, and how in a single question, there is a wealth of concern about your well-being and contentment.


It goes like this. Each morning, as I enter the office premises, I am greeted by colleagues and sub-staff who usually ask me the same question each day, “Thindi Aaytha?”  Meaning “Did you have breakfast?” And it’s not just for me; each person is singularly asked the same question. I was intrigued about this, and it was just not breakfast, but any mealtime.

In the beginning, I felt that all these people were obsessed with food. After a while, I realized that it was their way of asking if the person they were speaking to was happy, and everything was alright in his/her world. The equation goes something like this; a hungry person usually looks like he’s upset, whereas, food signifies contentment. If a person has had food, he’s generally happy and considering that we work in a very stressful environment and tend to absorb others’ stress too, it becomes essential for each of us to be content.


Most stop at the “had your breakfast?” question and are happy receiving a nod. Yet others, who are now close, go on to ask what I had for breakfast. They wait for an answer from me and generally supply information about their own food. Initially I was unprepared for these sorts of questions because I felt they had nothing to do with what I ate; Nowadays, I’m used to it and don’t get ruffled up when people do ask me this.


Usually no comments are passed when one mentions stuff like Idlis or Dosas or Pongal, but mention “Uppittu” and you can see myriad expressions on people’s faces.

Usually a mention of “Uppittu” leads to comments like “Oh! Concrete!” “Oil Bath”! “Stupid”! etc. And usually Uppittu is the most often repeated breakfast item in most of the houses, basically because it is filling and easy to prepare.

Uppittu has many forms, like Neeru-Uppittu, Uduru-Uppittu etc, and can be prepared in different ways, without vegetables, with just onions, with or without vegetables, giving it a different name like “Khaara Bhaat”.

Uppittu’s cousins, the Avalakki Uppittu and Shaavige Uppittu do not get the same criticism as Uppittu does, but are not as popular with the masses either, though they also enjoy a prominent place on the breakfast table.

Uppittu, though a mass delicacy, enjoys an important place on the South Indian Table, as it is served as an evening snack at many weddings, and is the breakfast item at many small family occasions too.

In spite of everything, Uppittu still gets a wrinkled nose when mentioned. I have seen very few who actually relish Uppittu. And to pass derogatory remarks, many of my male colleagues feel their mothers / wives are being lazy and so serve them Uppittu for breakfast.


Since I do not associate any positive or negative feeling towards Uppittu, I’d like to know; Does Uppittu deserve all the bad credit it unfortunately gets? Is it so bad to eat or serve Uppittu? Answers? Anyone?




9 Responses to "Uppittina Upakathe"

hoditare uppittu hakidare tatte thumba
adare uppittina hesaru helidare moogu muritare
yako yeno i uppittina tapatrya yake bantho gottilla
madalu bahu sulabha hecchu samaya bekilla
jothege kesaribath kotre chow chow bath
sariyagi madire uppittu nimage siguvudu
gammattina presentu madi sariyagi jotheyagi
tanni kesari bath agali jeevavana chow chow bath

Generally when we start the chat, we start with ooTa aayta, coffee aayta to come up with the same base to start the conversation.. so I think its a fair way to initiate a talk Vani..

hmm.. I am one of those rare who relish uppiTTu.. specially during evening times.
Actually upiTTu when made nicely with tarakaari and more onions and right combination of eNNe, its a bombat snack..

We prepare uppiTTu as part of light food that we take in the evening on shivarathri , I don’t think the taste can match up to anything that we cook any other day…

Some really prepare uppiTTu in a bad way, no onion, no enough oil just some rave which is not even fried properly – May be this is the reason people might give such wrong comments

and I think it takes no less time to prepare good uppiTTu.. aka khaara baatu…

regarding “If a person has had food, he’s generally happy ” : hotte raayana trupthi padsidhre mikkidhdhellaa sugamavaagi nadeyaththe. hotte raayanige jai. 🙂

idhu dhoddavarashte allaa, adhanna elroo kalthidhdhu baalyadhalle! 🙂

about uppittu, that’s one of my favorites. I know L- often relate it to concrete too, but I don’t really feel that way. Uppittu comes in 2 or 3 flavors of Rave too. bengaLoorinalli local rave antha haeLthidhvi, maththe innondhu banasi rave. L- doesn’t like the one with banasi rave, but I prefer banasi rave. 🙂

Agreed, oota aaytha, thindi aaytha are used as formality ansaththe. Ice-breaker in a way. “namaskaaaara saaar! Kaapi aaytha!!”

I like avarekalu masala uppitu.

Great blog!

Nice theme,sis.

I feel a remark like oota /tindi/coffee aiytaa are all a gentle show of concern for our well being.

I guess some people feel that the taste of a dish or the appetite it creates is inversely proportional to its preparation time/sweat time in kitchen.

We all like uppittu at home.
but illi bansi rave sigalla . A’ kesari ‘rave is available–a distant cousin of B rave.We usually make do with bombay rava.

So true!
This unique way of greeting! When i was very young, I used to visit my friend Chchaya very often. The first question her mother used to ask me was ‘Ene maadiddaru amma ootakke?’ I used to describe everything in detail. My friend used to get bugged. ‘latha na amma nannanna yaavattu kelalla i prashne!’ anta!
But I used to like her question as I thought she was very concerned about what i ate!
Nice article by vani!

Moolabhoota preshne – Uppittendare janarige yaake dwesha – has remained unanswered.

Uppittu..Like most people I never liked it. I used to hate when my mother used to make it esecially plain uppittu.

Since I did not like uppittu never learned to make it. After I got married, my BIL had come to visit us and he liked uppittu!
It used to come out like concrete. Now I have learned to make good uppittu after a lot of trial and error.

Dear Vani,
i like ur way of writing. i don’t know why people dislike uppittu because it is my favourite dish. may be, bad preparation causes dislike.

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