Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}

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Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}

Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}

Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}
Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}

Upma {Savory Semolina Dish} is also known as Uppumavu or Uppittu and is a common South Indian, Maharashtrian and Sri Lankan Tamil Breakfast / Tiffin dish.

It is cooked as a thick porridge from dry roasted semolina or coarse rice flour. Various seasonings and/or vegetables are often added during the cooking, depending on individual preferences.

If you ask me, then Tiffin means lunch box in easy simple language. When we refer to tiffin dishes, then these are the dishes that are easy to prep and suitable to pack and go and also perfect for snacking, brunch or breakfast. South India has a huge variety of Tiffin recipes.

Upma {Savory Semolina Dish} is a super simple and easy recipe that can be incorporated in our daily lives as either snack or a complete meal.

Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}
Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}

Few ingredients and a humble recipe can be a life changing experience, isn’t it true? Semolina is one such ingredient that I always store in my pantry. The possibilities with semolina or suji are endless.

What is semolina? Semolina is the coarse, purified wheat crumbs of durum wheat mainly. It can be coarse crumbs of rice and corn as well. Wheat semolina is most easily available and is most widely used all over the world, including couscous and pasta.

The most widely appreciated semolina dish is Halwa or Sheera, that is a sweet pudidng. Here is how to make Suji ka Halwa.

Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}
Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}

I did not grow up eating Upma in my household for obvious reasons. The dishes that were mainly highlighted in my growing up years from South were Idli, dosa, sambhar and wada.

Somewhere down the years, when southern Indian food started making it big in DELHI NCR region, Upma and other delicacies were also introduced to North Indian food Palette.

I learnt to make it from my mother in law, after marriage. She had learnt it from one of her friends. I remember that Upma was often made at my in-laws’ place for breakfast or brunch. I liked it and then had fallen in love with it.

My girls and Amit can eat Upma any given day without any fuss. They simply love it. I am not claiming that this is an authentic recipe, but a bloody good recipe for sure. As every household has their own version, this one isn’t any different from the same fact.

Here is a list of all the little big things that I used to make Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}-


Mustard seeds 



Curry Leaves

Chana Dal

Urad Dal

Heavy bottom Pan

Flat Spatula


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5 from 1 vote

Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}

A humble and easy recipe to cook with semolina. It can be packed for lunch or eaten for breakfast or brunch.
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Cuisine South Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Sonal Gupta @ simplyvegetarian777


  • Semolina dry roasted - 1 cup
  • Onion red - 1 small, finley chopped
  • Ginger - 1 small piece minced or chopped fine
  • Garlic - 1 pod chopped fine
  • Curry leaves - 10 to 12
  • Green Chili - 1 seeds removed and chopped fine
  • Cilantro/Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp chopped fine
  • Mint leaves - 2 to 3 chopped fine (optional)
  • Water - 2&1/2 cups

Oils, Spices & Condiments

  • Oil - 1&1/2 tbsp
  • Black Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Chana dal - 1/2 tbsp
  • Urad dal - 1/2 tbsp
  • Peanuts unsalted - 3 tbsp
  • Cashews unsalted - 1&1/2 tbsp, broken into pieces
  • Salt - 1 tsp or to taste
  • Black pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Red Dry Chili - 1 to 2


Dry Roasting Semolina

  • Take a heavy bottom pan and add semolina to it. Roast the semolina on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes till you can smell a nice aroma. Keep stirring since it gets burnt at the bottom quite fast.
  • Take it out in a dry plate or bowl and set aside.

Making Upma

  • Take the same heavy bottom pan and heat 1&1/2 tbsp oil in it. Add mustard seeds, urad and chana dal , dry red chili, plus cashews and peanuts to the pan. Saute and stir at medium heat in the pan, till mustard seeds splutter and dals turn slightly golden and peanuts & cashews are reddish in color.
  • Now add green chili, ginger, garlic and onion to the pan. Keep sauteing on medium heat till onions turn soft and translucent. It takes about 3-4 minutes. We do not brown the onions.
  • Once this prep is done, add dry roasted semolina, salt, black pepper and water to the pan.
  • Give it a good stir on high heat. Once the water comes to boiling point, reduce the heat to minimum. Cover the pan with lid.
  • Cook on low heat, till water is absorbed. It takes about 7-8 minutes.

You may stop cooking at this point and enjoy a slightly porridgy Upma.

  • OR

Cook further till it dries up a little bit and start caking. Open the lid. Fork it out with fork and serve it warm.


    Do keep me posted if you cook upma in some other way.

    It is perfect to entertain the guests over tea time or brunch. Pack it for lunch box or make it for dinner when you want to go easy on cooking and have a one pot dish.

    Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}
    Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}

    In my Kitchen, you will always eat happy and stay happy!


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    1. just made this recipe. Left out urad peanuts and (didn’t have them) Replaced peanuts with pinenuts and urad: just doubled the channa, Tastes great! Thanks for sharing!

    2. I have been visiting your recipe blog regularly. The way of recipe tips looks to be easy for all readers. I would personally recommend our blog visitors to subscribe to obtain useful posts like this periodically. Particularly post on “Upma {Savory Semolina Dish}” is awesome.

    3. Ahh what a lovely dish. I don’t believe I’ve ever had soji in a savory dish, I’ve either had it as a porridge or a sweet. But this my palette would certainly love 🙂