We didn’t really eat breakfast very often as kids. Who manages to eat at 6am before school? Weekends were for lazy breakfasts and hence there was really not much need to experiment beyond the usual suspects. Eggs, sandwiches, poha, aloo puri, paranthas, french toast – more than enough!

Once I started living on my own, I realized I need to eat at least something good for breakfast so that I avoid unnecessary snacking around 11am. Again, the easiest thing to do is make eggs. But after a few weeks of fried eggs, I really need a change of scene! I started adding more things to the repertoire, especially for weekends, and am glad I’m making breakfast a must.

The latest edition to my breakfast menu is this super easy, extremely tasty Upma. I had been toying with the idea of making Upma but always thought it would be too tough. One day, while making coffee, I had this ‘it’s now or never’ feeling and decided to give upma a go! I don’t know what brought it on, I think I’m just in one of those mental phases right now. Given how well this turned out, I think I should listen to those voices more πŸ™‚

Made with sooji (semolina), onions, chillies, curry leaves and spices, this is really easy to put together.

The first step of roasting the sooji is super therapeutic for me. Just keep stirring the sooji on low heat, watch the grains separate and become dry and smell that gorgeous aroma after a few minutes. It really reminds me of sooji ka halwa so the brain needs a little reality check at this time to tell itself that this is going to become Upma and not halwa πŸ™‚

Once the sooji is ready and put aside, roast the spices, cashews, dals and then add the onions, chillies and curry leaves.

Once cooked through, add water and let it boil. The roasted sooji gets added slowly to the boiling water and as it gets absorbed it expands in volume. It’s like watching magic πŸ™‚ Steam for a few minutes and you’re done! Upma ready to serve!

It took me this long to get around to making the dish. I’ve always had it at restaurants, weddings or at friend’s houses. Never at my place. It’s such a good feeling to be able to replicate something and to know it is easy and so tasty! Hello, new favourite πŸ™‚

If you are an upma fan (or even if you have never had it), try this and you will know what I mean πŸ™‚


  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


1 cup (250g) sooji/rava (semolina)

1 medium onion – finely chopped

2 green chillies – finely chopped

1 tsp mustard (Rai) seeds

1/2 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds

1 tsp split Bengal gram (channa dal)

1 tsp split and skinned black gram (urad dal)

6-8 cashews

1/2 inch ginger – finely chopped

12-14 curry leaves

2.5 cups water

3 tbsp chopped coriander

2 tbsp oil/ghee

Salt to taste


  1. Heat a wok and add the sooji (semolina) to it. On medium heat, roast the sooji for 2-3 minutes till it becomes drier, separates and is fragrant. Keep stirring during the process, the sooji should not brown. Once done, transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. In the same wok, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  3. Add the cumin seeds, channa dal, urad dal and let them fry for 30-40 seconds till the dals start to become golden.
  4. Add the cashews, lower the heat slightly and fry till golden. Don’t let the dals burn πŸ™‚
  5. Transfer the chopped onions to the wok and cook for 3-4 minutes till soft and translucent.
  6. Pop in the chillies, curry leaves and ginger. Mix well and cook for a minute or two.
  7. Pour in the water and increase to high heat. Add salt to taste.
  8. Let the water come to a boil and then put the pan on low heat.
  9. Add the roasted sooji in parts, 2 tablespoons at a time. Mix well after each addition.
  10. The sooji will absorb the water and expand. Once all the sooji is added and mixed in, cover the pan and let it steam for 2-3 minutes.
  11. Adjust salt, add coriander and mix.
  12. Switch off the heat and let it sit for 1-2 minutes. Then serve – plain, with chutney or pickle.

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A baker, a dancer, a marketeer. Sometimes lazy. Always up to try new food, read interesting books and meet amazing people :)

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