Wow.  Two indian recipe posts in a row.  Mom, I should get an award or something.  I will accept your sarcasm in lieu of that.  That’s probably what I’ll get.

I used to HATE upma (OOP-mah) when I was a kid.  It wasn’t bad at all, but it just LOOKED mundane and monochromatic.  Sad. 

But now, I LOVE it and we have it almost once a week!….Especially because it’s sooooooo easy.  And it’s just fun to say “Upma”.  🙂

Upma is what we eat on weekend mornings when we’re both drinking coffee at the breakfast table and we suddenly lose 3 hours engrossed in our laptops…accomplishing nothing.  At this point, we’re both thinking “we should eat something at some point”.  As you might have already deduced, we are excellent caretakers of ourselves.  It’s a good thing that we aren’t responsible for any children. 

Upma makes a fantastic satisfying South Indian brunch when paired with plain yogurt.  It sounds a little weird to place this in the “brunch” bucket in the land of buttermilk biscuits, eggs, and pancakes, but it really hits the spot, if you’re up for adventurous flavor in comfort food.

I know it looks like I went on a scavenger hunt in the woods,
but these are all the things you might find in an Indian pantry. 
Each of these ingredients packs tons of flavor.

Some more prep ingredients: Semolina Flour (aka Rava or “Cream of Wheat”) and diced onions and minced green chilies.

Upma makes a fantastic satisfying South Indian brunch when paired with plain yogurt. 
recipe by rabbitfoodrocks
Serves up to 3 lazy adults 
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20-22 mins


2 Tablespoon Canola Oil
2 Tablespoon Ghee
1 stem curry leaves, leaves removed from stem
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 cinnamon stick
4 or 5 cloves
3 dried red chilies
1 Tablespoons white urad dal
2 Tablespoons raw peanuts or chopped cashews
1/2 large onion, diced*
1 minced green chili (optional – for additional heat)
1 rice cooker cup (~3/4 cup) semolina flour (also known as Rava or Cream of Wheat)
2.5 rice cooker cups (~1-3/4 cup) water***
1 tsp salt or more to taste
1/3 cup plain yogurt
cilantro for garnish
serve with 1/4 cup yogurt per person


1.  Heat oil and ghee over medium heat in a large non-stick pot or wok.  Add curry leaves, asafoetida, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves, and dried red chilies.  Allow the oil to sizzle and the mixture will become fragrant.  Keep stirring and cook for about 1 min. 
2.  Add raw peanuts or cashews and white urad dal.  Stir well. Cook for about 1 minute.
3.  Add diced onion, salt, and green chili.  Cook for 5 mins while constantly stirring.
4.  Add semolina flour and mix well.  Allow semolina to “roast”.  Cook for about 7 mins while stirring.  
5.  Add water to the wok.  Initially, upon adding water, mixture should look soupy and unappetizing.  But the semolina flour will quickly absorb the water and become an oatmeal-like texture. 
6.  As soon as it looks oatmeal-y, lower heat to the lowest setting, add yogurt and mix well.  This lightens up the texture a bit.  Immediately cover, and wait for 5 mins.
7.  Give it one good stir again, remove the lid, and wait for about 5 mins.  Remove from heat.  If it looks lumpy or dough-y, you can keep cooking on low for a few more mins uncovered, but don’t let the upma burn on the bottom.  Once you remove it from heat and let it sit for a while, it will develop a more firm texture.
8.  Serve with plain yogurt and garnish with cilantro.****

*A finer dice is preferred here.  You can use an electric mini-chopper for best results.  If you don’t have a mini chopper, see my next note.
**Why don’t you have a mini chopper???
***Semolina Flour and Water ratio is usually 1 : 2.5
****Plating tip:  (Not that I should be the one giving this sort of advice) If you want to serve this as shown in the photo, find an empty ramekin or small bowl and turn it upside down inside another larger empty bowl.  Fill the larger bowl with upma (around the sides of the ramekin).  Then put a plate upside-down over the rim of the bowl.  Now, with your thumbs on the plate and fingers gripping the large bowl underneath, carefully and quickly turn this all upside down.  Lift off the large bowl.  Now you can fill the smaller bowl with yogurt.  Ta-da.