World Palate Recipes: Semolina Uppuma (Upma)


Here is a popular South Indian breakfast recipe.  Not only is Uppuma or Uppitu, (names in Tamil and Kannada) very common in South Indian homes, but every household will have its own version, a little touch of this and that, which makes subtle changes in the basic recipe. Upma is a simple, nutritious breakfast item, served during the weekdays, as a tiffin item. When part of wedding breakfast menus, alongside popular Idli and Vadai, additional tempering and garnishing with roasted cashew nuts and colourful vegetables, changes it from the simple to the exotic!

Semolina Uppuma

Semolina Uppuma

Basic recipe uses coarse Semolina. But for variations, you may use Vermicelli, burghul or even fine broken rice, as popular in Tamil Nadu, southern India.

The story behind this recipe is: My visiting friend from Chennai (Madras) cooked this traditional South Indian breakfast for us. Isn’t it a wonderful time when friends get together, enjoy a laugh and share recipes? Thanks, Priya. The ingredient of love and goodness, turned the simple dish into a healthy meal with wholesome company.


1 medium onion

1 carrot or 3 beans or shelled peas (optional)

2 cups coarse semolina

1 inch finely chopped ginger

fistful roasted peanuts ( or cashew nuts)

Salt, green or red chilli and water – as required

3-5 tsps of ghee or clarified butter (optional)

For Tempering:

1 tsp. mustard

3 tsp. cooking oil

2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves

Semolina Upma Ingredients

Semolina Upma Ingredients

Upma preparation- Temperiing

Upma preparation- Temperiing


First lightly roast the semolina in a large pan or wok (kadhai), till lightly browned. Do not over brown it, as it will alter taste!. Keep aside in a plate to cool.

Prepare the tempering – Heat oil lightly in a thick, large wok. Add mustard seeds to crackle. Toss in peanuts, curry leaf, chilli, chopped onion, grated ginger, optional vegetables. Lightly fry these in oil. Add 2 cups water, little salt and let this mixture boil.Cover and let the vegetables cook lightly (not overcook!).

Remove lid, lower gas flame. Slowly pour the roasted semolina to the boiling water mixture, taking care not to pour all at once – else it will form into a lump. Stir the water /semolina mixture constantly. Adjust salt and water. Cover with lid and cook for 5 mins.

Stir gently once again, remove any lumps, add a generous dash of ghee, for that heavenly taste and aroma. Adjust water to cook semolina evenly, as it fluff in size.

Serve onto plate, garnish with roasted peanuts /cashew nuts /curry leaf. Or prepare mould and fill with Upma. Then invert onto plate and garnish.

Tomato chutney or coconut chutney makes a perfect combination with this. Enjoy!

         ‘Every recipe has a story behind it’

What is your favourite recipe? What is the story behind it?

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2015) Please see copyright disclaimer.



About Veena S.

'Travel broadens the mind.' It's been a wonderful journey through the past few years, living and travelling to many countries. Certainly there were few eye openers, at other times just a comparison on cultures and food and cuisines. My blog is my learning journey to capture and re live these moments, share photographs and use technology. Come ...see the world with me.

6 responses »

  1. विणा ,
    तुझी रेसिपी आवडली . तशीच ही डिश गोडाची पण केलेली मला आवडते !
    शेंगदाण्या च्या जागी काजुच तळून घेतलेले हवे ! आधी कोमट पाण्याचा हबका देवून
    शेवया नरम करून घेतल्या की साखरेचा पाक त्यावर सोडून त्यांना गोड केले जाते .
    असेच वरून तूप सोडून स्वाद वाढवला जात
    शेवयांच्या उपम्या सारखी कुर्डयांची डिश पण करता येते . मात्र कुर्डया
    बनविण्य आधी गार पाण्यात पंधरा मिनिटे ठेवून कुस्करून शेगदाणे तळून कांदा
    हिरवी, मिर्ची टोमाटो वर फोडणीस घालून maggi सारखे बनवून कोथिम्बिरीने
    सवून तसेच खावे किंवा पोळी पराठ्याशी भाजी सारखे उपयोगात आणावे .
    हे सर्व तुला आधीच ठावूक असले तरी माझ्या आवडीचे म्हणून लिहिले ! स्टोरी
    लिहायची तर फार लांबण लागेल !

  2. oh boy! I am so hungry now. I feel so happy reading your blogs – joyful reading 🙂
    I will try this version of recipe myself!

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