Upma: A Favorite Indian Breakfast

A bowl of upma with lime segments

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Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1127 Calories
32g Fat
184g Carbs
31g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 1127
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 566641mg 24,637%
Total Carbohydrate 184g 67%
Dietary Fiber 19g 67%
Protein 31g
Calcium 652mg 50%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

No matter where you go in India, upma is a very popular breakfast. It originated in South India but is also found in Maharashtra and Sri Lanka. Essentially, upma is a thick, porridge-like breakfast dish that is made from coarse rice flour or semolina that has been dry-roasted. Its extremely versatile, so don't be afraid to experiment with ingredients and flavors.

This tasty dish can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, or as a snack and is so wholesome you can even make a full meal of it!


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for upma
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  2. To begin, heat a griddle pan or skillet on medium heat and roast the semolina lightly. Stir the semolina frequently and do not allow it to brown.

    Toast semolina in a skillet
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  3. Once done, place semolina on a platter and put aside.

    Place toasted semolina on a platter
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  4. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chilies.

    Toast spices in a pan
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  5. Add the grated ginger and stir well. Cook for 1 minute.

    Add grated ginger to the pan
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  6. Add the onion and fry it until it is both translucent and soft.

    Add the onion to the pan
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  7. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are soft.

    Add tomato to the spices, onion, and peppers
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  8. Add the hot water, turmeric, and salt to taste, and bring to a boil.

    Add hot water, turmeric, and salt
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  9. Add the toasted semolina, a little at a time, stirring constantly to prevent any lumps from forming.

    Add toasted semolina
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  10. Simmer and cook until the upma is like a very thick porridge. Turn off the flame.

    Simmer and cook
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  11. Squeeze the lime juice over the upma and mix well.

    Squeeze lime juice over upma
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  12. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve piping hot.

    Garnish with coriander
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  13. Enjoy!

Recipe Variations

  • As mentioned, upma is a versatile dish so there are many variations of it. It can include rice, vermicelli, or pearl sago.
  • Veggies and beans can be added to it, and some types will include cashews and peanuts.
  • Masala upma, also known as kharabath, includes sambar masala or garam masala as well as red chili powder. 
  • Another variation of it contains grated coconut. That is common on holy days or at other times when people avoid eating onions. Typically it is also tossed in ghee before serving.

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