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Jan 26, 2005

Upma Varieties

Upma is an easy snack. Generally people think of Semolina upma, Vermicelli upma and Broken Wheat upma in South India. While sabudana kichadi (Sago upma) is well known in Maharashtra. I have written some more upma recipes , enjoy the upma varieties

1.Semolina (rava) upma
Saute rava in a dry vessel till it turns golden brown. (Can be done earlier and stored)Heat 2 teaspoon of oil, add mustard, asafoetida, 3 greeen chillies, ginger pieces, curry leaves, and half teaspoon of black gram dhal and half teaspoon bengal gram dhal (cashews optional). Add chopped onions and saute till they turn golden brown. Add chopped tomatoes and stir till they turn get cooked.
For 1 cup of rava use 1 and half cup of water. If you want the upma more as a paste, use 2 cup of water.
Add the water. Wait till it boils, add 1 teaspoon of salt for 1 cup of rava. Add frozen peas. After the peas are cooked, add chopped corainder leaves and then add the rava and stir immediately. The rava absorbs the water in few seconds. Before adding the rava, its optional to add lemon juice. If the soured taste is preferred sour buttermilk can added instead of lemon juice, adjusting the quantity of water accordingly.

2.Bread upma
Break the bread into small pieces.Heat 2 teaspoon of oil, add mustard, asafoetida, 3 greeen chillies, ginger pieces, curry leaves, and half teaspoon of black gram dhal and half teaspoon bengal gram dhal, half teaspoon turmeric powder (cashews optional). Add chopped onions and saute till they turn golden brown. Add pieces of bread. The salt should be lower than other upmas, since the bread would have salt. Therefore add approximately half teaspoon of salt.

3.Idli upma
Break the idli into small pieces and same as bread upma..

4.Vermicelli upma
Fry vermicelli in a dry vessel and keep aside. Heat 2 teaspoon of oil, add mustard, asafoetida, 3 greeen chillies, ginger pieces, curry leaves, and half teaspoon of black gram dhal and half teaspoon bengal gram dhal,(cashews optional). Add chopped onions and saute till they turn golden brown. For 450 gms of vermicilli approx 3 cups of water will be required. When the water boils, add around 2 flat teaspoon of salt and frozen peas and after the peas are cooked, add the vermicelli and stir till it gets cooked.But it depends on the type of vermicelli, if more water is needed, do not pour the entire quantity at the same time, as the upma will lump up. Sprinkle water little by little, mix well and cook.

5.Broken Wheat (Burgul) Upma
Same as Semolina upma, but need not be sauted before mixing with water. Depending on the quality, use 2 cups of water for 1 cup of broken wheat.

6.Beaten Rice Flakes (Avul) Tamarind Upma
Soak a lump of tamarind and prepare tamarind juice. Wash rice flakes. And add them to the filtered juice. For 1 cup of rice flakes, add 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder and mix in around 1 cup of juice. Let it stand till flakes fall out in grains. Heat 2 teaspoon of oil, add mustard, 1 teaspoon of black gram dhal and bengal gram dhal and 3 red or green chillies. Add the soaked beaten rice flakes. Scald till it becomes dry.

7.Beaten Rice Flakes (Avul) Lemon Upma
For 1 cup of Rice flakes, soak in less than 1 cup of water with salt and turmeric powder as above and proceed. And after it is dry, add juice of 1 lemon.

8.Beaten Rice Flakes (Avul) Coconut Upma
Proceed as above and add grated coconut instead of lemon. The quantity of salt slightly and sugar can be added.

9.Rice Upma
For 1 cup of rice use 1/4 cup of red gram dhal. Break Rice and Dhal into small pieces.(Half teaspoon of pepper and cumin seed can be broken along with the rice and dhal) Sieve and use the coarse part.Heat 2 teaspoon of oil. Add mustard, 1 teaspoon blackgram dhal, 3-4 red chillies and few curry leaves. Add 3 and half cup of water. When the water boils, add the broken rice.And close the vessel.Cook over slow fire, stirring in between. Coconut gratings can be added towards the end.

10.Vegetable Upma
Heat 2 teaspoon of oil, add bay leaf, mustard, asafoetida, 3 green chillies, ginger pieces, and broken cashews . Add chopped onions and saute till they turn golden brown. Add chopped tomatoes and stir till they turn get cooked. Add other chopped vegetables like carrot, beans, cauliflowers, cabbage, potato,peas etc and saute. Add approx 1 and half teaspoon of salt for every 1 cup of sauted rava/broken wheat/vermicelli/broken rice. Depending on the ingredient, use the required quantity of water.Instead of green chillies, red chillies or a masala powder can be used.

11.Dhal Upma or Rava pongal
If Rava is sauted and cooked red gram or greem gram dhal is available.For 1 cup of rava approx half cup of cooked dhal will be needed.Heat 1 teaspoon of oil. Add mustard, few crushed pepper and cumin seed, ginger pieces and cashew nuts. Add 1 and half cup of water.Add 1 and half teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper cumin seed powder. When the water boils,add the rava. And when the rava is cooked add the dhal and cook over a slow fire till they are mixed well. If the dhal is ready, and rava already sauted, will require around 5 minutes only.

12.Pasta Upma
Cook Pasta seperately.Heat 2 teaspoon of oil, add mustard, asafoetida, 3 greeen chillies, ginger pieces, curry leaves, and half teaspoon of black gram dhal and half teaspoon bengal gram dhal (cashews optional). Add chopped onions and saute till they turn golden brown. Add chopped tomatoes and stir till they turn get cooked. Other vegetables too can be added and cooked. Add salt depending on the salt content of the pasta. And mix.

13 Oats upma
(not tried)
Heat 2 teaspoon of oil, add mustard, asafoetida, 3 greeen chillies, ginger pieces, curry leaves, and half teaspoon of black gram dhal and half teaspoon bengal gram dhal (cashews optional). Add chopped onions and saute till they turn golden brown. Add chopped tomatoes and stir till they turn get cooked. Other vegetables too can be added and cooked. Add 1 and half teaspoon of salt.When the water comes to a boil add the oats. For 1 and half cup of water use 6 Tablespoons of oats. If vegetables are not used, use only 1 cup of water.Stir till it thickens.

14.Oats II
Boil 1 and half cup of water. Add 5-6 soya granules and 1 chopped tomatoes and half cup, other vegetables like peas, carrot pieces etc. Add a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of peppercumin seed powder.If the quantity of water gets reduced due to the vegetables, add approx 1/2 cup of water. When the water comes to a boil. Add 5 table spoon of oats and stir, till it thickens. Note consume quickly since oats thickens after cooling. (This doesnt require oil and onions arent therefore used).Takes around 5 minutes to make depending on the vegetables used.
The consistency will be lumpy (due to adding oats directly to hot water. For even consistency. grind the oats into a powder and store and mix with lukewarm water before adding to hot water). But it will quickly thicken during the cooling period.

This is a recipe written more from health point of view than the taste and appearnce point of view.

15.Sago Upma
(Not tried)
Soak sago overnight. Drain excess water the next morning before preparing.Proceed as for other upmas and add sago and cook till it becomes translucent and add crushed groundnut pieces in the end. And garnish with corainder leaves. Optionally sugar too can be added.
Note : The water ratio for Rice Flakes and Vermicelli would depend upon the type. What I have mentioned is just an approximation. Please note of the above Vermicelli can be the trickiest one since, there are many varieties of it.

Do give your feedback through the comments:)


  1. Donkey, you are wiser and more resourceful than your cousin in Shrek!

    Man! i am an Upma freak and this is a treasure trove of upma recipes.

  2. ranga thanks :)
    and hope they turn out well too:)

  3. What is the consistency of the end product for oats upma II? Soupy? Porridge-y? Or dry like rava upma?

  4. Ooops i had not mentioned the amount of oats.
    Well its 5 tablespoon. it definitely will not turn out like rava upma.
    in fact it may lump a bit together. unless you take the pain of grinding it to a powder, and mixing it with ordinary water and then adding it to hot water.

    for 5 table spoon, it will come more like a soupy. after 5 mins of cooling it will thicken considerably and be like a porridgey

    Dont add more than 5 6 soya granules due to the calorie factor.

    The 5 tablespoon is for a big bowl and serves one person. Increase accordingly for more persons.

    Its mostly my breakfast. The taste comes from the cumin-pepper. if you dont like them much well i wouldnt recommend it to you. This is a recipe more for health than for taste.

    wish you the best.

  5. Wise Donkey,
    Thanks for your clarification. Now I understand what you call oats upma is what we call oatmeal in the USA. People here prefer theirs sweetened and loaded with artificial flavors, comes in individual serving size.

    Just like you, I eat oatmeal every morning, for mid-morning snack. Breakfast is kezhvaragu(raagi) kanji with milk, no sugar or honey. I take the oatmeal to work.

    I make mine with organic, rolled oats in the microwave. First mix water and oats in a glass bowl, cook in the microwave for 4 min or so. When the oats are fully cooked, add milk, cook again till milk froths up. Then I add chopped dried fruits and roasted nuts. No sugar or honey. The dried fruits make it mildly sweet, which is what I can handle in the morning. I like dried blueberries, raspberries, figs, dates, prunes, raisins, cherries and pears. My favorite nuts are almonds, cashews, pine nuts and pistachios. I add a total of three tablespoons of the chopped fruits and nuts, the fat is good for health. I chop while watching TV on weekends, so it is easier on weekday mornings.

    Sorry for the long post. I was just so happy to read that you also eat oatmeal, although a savory version.

  6. Tell me about Sago upma. I have heard that it is common in Maharashtra, but I don't know what consistency it should be in. I have tried a recipe similar to yours from Meenakshi Ammal's Samaiththu Paar cookbook. It didn't turn out well. The Sago kept sticking to the pan. I was expecting something like dry rava upma, it turned out to be sticky and burnt. And the taste wasn't really much to write about. Don't get me wrong, I love sago. In payasam as well as in kanji with green chilles, ginger and lemon juice. Don't like the kanji with buttermilk. And I also love vadaam, actually I can't wait for it to dry in the sun. I like peeling the half baked rounds where the top is dry but the inside is still soft.

    Let me know if you've had a chance to taste or make Sago upma.

  7. vidya an interesting version to oats. thanks will try it out. and it seems a healthier option too:)
    though i generally prefer oats with cumin i know couple in my family who prefer it sweetened with milk:)

    btw i also read meenakshi ammal. though we cant use all her recipes, (gosh the amt of oil she uses:D)

    i dont recollect her sago upma recipe though. though it isnt dry like rava upma, its definitely not soupy.
    key points soak sago overnight (th big sago not the small sagos. the small ones are mustard sized, while the big ones are around 3-4 times bigger than them).
    drain out excess water.
    and proceed like other upma without adding water. its been time since i made one. will try one today and tell u tommorrow.
    generally the taste depends on the chillis and the salt we use.

    the groundnut powder is a maharashtrian addition.

    and more than the sago fried vadam i love eating it when its just about dry in the sun when the inside is soft like you, and when u can still taste the lemon flavour in it :D yummy!!

    i love long comments :) thanks :)

  8. vidya u can try this out too if it seems interesting to you
    ndtv recipe

  9. Thanks for the ndtv recipe. Not sure I want to try it though, there is no time for the sago to cook. It is simple heated and the ingredients mixed, more like a warm salad. Maybe because when sago is cooked, it becomes this glutinous thing that burns.

    Maybe the sago upma recipe I tried was from bawarchi or the numerous other websites I refer to for cooking, in addition to Samaiththu Paar. I refer to the book only for ingredients list and ratios of quantities. I don't literally follow all the specifics. After so many years of cooking and also watching my mom cook, I know what will work for my family's tastebuds. But I keep it as close to "authentic" as possible.

    Will wait for your sago experiment results.

  10. though i visit, i dont like most of the sites.

    i gave u the ndtv from which i had tried couple of recipes and found them good only because i wanted to give u the maharashtrian version.

    you will have to wait couple of days, since i have run out of sago (of all things:) )

    have a nice day:)

  11. i soaked the small sago variety (since i didnt get the usual big ones) in hot water for 2 hours. after drainin the excess water.

    spoon of oil
    a teaspoon of mustard
    3 red chillies for 1 cup of sago
    black gram and bengal gram
    for seasoning.
    1 teaspoon salt and then added the sago and cooked in low flame for around 10 minutes.
    it has to become translucent to be well cooked. and it does stick together.

    it doesnt have a taste to rave about, but can be eaten as a variety item.

  12. Thanks for taking the time to experiment. I think I'll skip the upma and enjoy sago my favorite way, in koozhu with ginger, green chillies and lemon juice.

  13. Hey Wise Donkey,

    Came across your blog. Nice post!!!! The Sago/Sabudaana/Tapioca Upma you are refering to is called 'Sabudaana tchi Khitchdi' in Marathi. I should know cause I am Maharashtrian by background, but an ABCD as you Desi's call us.

    And the 'vadas' are great too. You are sooooo right with the crispy-chewey consistency of the vadas!!!

    Awesome!!!!! Here's a hint....try some with some Maggi Hot 'n Spicy Ketchup!!!! YUMMMMMMMYYYYY!!!!!!!!! ;)

    The only prob with Tapioca is that if the quality isn't good, you might end up with a mushy or even hard pearl. So finding the right Sago is all up to luck.

    Also in Maharashtra Upma is also refered to as 'Shira', although that word is also predominantly used for the sweet version of Upma (usually made for Satyanarayan Puja prasad).

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. g-man x since i did all my studies in mumbai, i know what you mean.

    mmmmmmm the vadas are just so yummy too:)

    yes i am familiar with the term shira:)and the sweet ones are very tasty:)

  16. I lovvvvvvvvvvvvvve bread upma..i make a bit differently though.....thanks for sharing the recipes..i'll surely try them out..

  17. I found a decent recipe for Sago Upma at
    I haven't tried it yet, but the detailed instructions make sense.

  18. wow this will be very useful..will try the bread upma in a few days..thats easy to make

  19. vidya thanks went thru it,
    but i think it works well with different soakin hours too. i.e to soak and cook them pretty soon, without leaving htem overnight..

    godo, all the best:)

  20. Ranganath Eunny7/13/2006 08:23:00 PM

    Idli upma...made of leftover u have a recipe?

    My mom used to make a potato curry out of chillies and ginger. My dad used to call it upma curry for it used to taste exactly like upma.

  21. Ranganath the 3rd on the list is idli upma. for 3 chillies, you would require around 6 idlis which u will have to break into small pieces.
    instead of green chillies, u can use one red chilli. (green chillies come in different varities and would defer in the "hot" degree, so do be careful.

    make sure you add very less salt since, idli will have salt. and the salt is added mainly for the onions.

    all the best and thanks for the upma curry idea:)

  22. Thanks for all the receipes. I enjoyed reading it. You can cook the roasted semia, avil in the microwave for quicker upma's. This will help people who have less time. I make most of the upma's in the micorwave as it saves time and while u do the seasoning, we can cook the main ingredient with water, salt and little bit of oil(so that it will not stick together while cooking) We can make Sevai (Rice sevai) readymade... also in lot of varieties, like pasta. Coconut, Lemon, Ellu sevai, dryfruit sevai. It tastes great and can be had with sambar/vethal kuyambu or chutney for those who are not on diet.

  23. yes uma, perhaps i should update it with a microwave version:)

  24. Good collection!! Would def try oats upma sometime! :)


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