Upama / spiced semolina with vegetables – Breakfast from South


Upama  is one of the classic breakfast/snack items from down south. Quick, fresh and wholesome food, served fresh and hot in most of the South Indian house holds. My mom would prepare them with a magic wond, get into the kitchen and the delicious upma is ready. When we grew up and left home for the studies, my mom would prepare the instant upma mix for us. Just add hot water and stir it for 2 minutes, upma is ready. Faster than instant maggie mix. The tradition continued and I still prepare the instant upma mix, whenever I have to travel for a longer period, for Raj. And he religiously prepares and savours until the last bit or till I return. I am not trying to write the instant upma mix recipe here, but you can definitely derive one from it. As cooking is all about your imagination, especially, when the recipe is associated with your heart, your growing years and memories of it.


Roasting semolina is one of the most crucial steps in the preparation of Upama. If the semolina is not adequately roasted, you will end up with lumpy mixture with a gum like texture.  However it is not a complicated step, just need some attention, patience and love. The recipe is flexible to acomodate your favourite vegetables, nuts and herbs. You can prepare it for the power packed breakfast or supper.


Happy cooking and healthy living.



  •  1 cup rice semolina finely roasted
  • 2 tomotoes
  • 2 red onions
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  •  2 green chillies
  • 2 tbsp cashew nuts
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1/2 tbsp  lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt


  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp  black gram split
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • pinch of asafotida
  • pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 spring curry leaves
  • 1 tsp coriander/cilanthro leaves, chopped –  optional for garnishing

Method – chop the tomatoes, onion, ginger, green chilliesand keep it seperately.

In a thick bottomed wok,  heat the oil. Add musted seeds and cumin seeds. Once it start spluttering, add black gram split and chopped ginger. Stir for half a minute and add other vegetables, green chillies, curry leaves, turmeric powder, curry leaves and cashew nuts. On a high flame, cook it for 2 minutes, stirring in between. Add water , salt and sugar. Let the entire mixture come to boil. Reduce the heat.  Take spoon, and taste this water, adjust salt if required.w

Add semolina to boiling water, mix it well, stirring twice or thrice only. Cover with lid and let it cook for another 3-4 minutes or untill the water is completely absorbed by the semolina. Switch off the flame and let upma get cooked in the residual heat for another 5 minutes.

Once done, add grated coconut and lemon juice , stir until well combined. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve.

Serves 3-4, best served fresh.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Jayanthisindhiya says:

    Nice presentation
    Keep rocking


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