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J never really liked Upma. Over these years, the only time I saw him devouring Upma, was during our trip to Kothagiri. We were staying at J’s company guest house. The in-house cook Raju, made mouthwatering dishes.Usually, he would ask us what wanted for the next meal. Confident about his cooking, we gave him the liberty to make whatever he felt like.
One morning, on asking what was for breakfast, pat came the reply “Upma”. My heart sank a bit as I knew that J doesn’t like it. However, I was in for a surprise when I saw J asking for a second helping. As we were leaving soon after breakfast, I couldn’t ask for the recipe.
During our next visit, J specifically asked me to take the recipe from Raju. Naturally, that was the first topic I broached with Raju. He offered to make the Upma while I clicked the pictures.The quantity of oil used was a bit too much to my liking. According to Raju , that helps to achieve the right texture.
The recipe I have given is very basic. You may add grated coconut and vegetables if you wish. If you want a sweet version, you may add sugar as well. The savoury version goes well with Coconut Chutney.


Upma is a popular breakfast dish of South India. There is a mildly sweet version as well as the savoury version. The savoury Upma goes very well with Coconut Chutney.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon Clarified Butter /Ghee
  • 1-1/2 cups Semolina/ Sooji/ Rava
  • 3/4 cup Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Bengal gram / Chana Dal
  • 150 gms Sliced shallots
  • 1 Chopped tomato
  • 1 cup Chopped Coriander leaves
  • 3-4 sprigs Curry leaves
  • 2 Chopped green chilli
  • 2-1/4 cups Water
  • to taste Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Clarified Butter /Ghee


  • Heat a pan and add ghee.
  • Add the semolina and roast till the raw smell goes.
  • Transfer to a plate and keep aside.
  • Bring the pan back to heat.
  • Add oil.
  • When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds.
  • When they start to splutter, add bengal gram.
  • Add shallots and stir for a few seconds.
  • Add curry leaves.
  • Add water and salt.
  • Add coriander leaves and stir well.
  • When it comes to a rolling boil, gradually add the roasted semolina.
  • Mix well.
  • Add tomatoes.
  • Continuously stir the mixture.
  • Cook till the water is absorbed.
  • Switch off heat and drizzle the ghee over the Upma.
  • Cover and keep for 5-10 minutes.
  • Mix well and serve hot with Chutney.

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