Upma (Savoury Spiced Semolina)

This is the epitome of a traditional yet simple south Indian breakfast and I absolutely love it with my twist of the added veggies to make it nice and savoury. Sure it’s traditionally eaten for breakfast but actually I often have if as a light meal for anytime of day. Of course, you can also change up the grain to quinoa, amaranth or millet you would need to have this pre-cooked.


1 cup course semolina (pre roasted)
2 cups chopped veggies (carrot, pea, green beans)
3 small slit green chillies
2 tbsp cashews
1 x medium onion (chopped)
2 tbsp soaked urad dahl
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
8-9 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon
3-4 whole cloves
Lemon juice to taste
2 tsp rock salt
1 tbsp ghee
Coriander (optional)
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 -4 cups boiling water



  • In the pan lightly dry roast the semolina and set aside

  • In the same pan, add ghee to a hot pan – add whole dry spices mustard seeds, urud dahl, cashews, curry leaves. Sauté 1-2 mins until cashews are lightly toasted

  • Add chopped onion, slit chillies and ginger and sauté 2-3 mins until onions are soft

  • Add chopped vegetables and salt and sauté 4-5 mins

  • Add boiling water and simmer for 1-2 minutes

  • Reduce heat, and stir in semolina and mix continuously to avoid lumps

  • Cover and cook for a further 2 minutes ad a little more water if needed. Turn off and leave to cook in steam. The consistency should be semi-dry.

  • Add lemon juice and coriander to serve