Amamma’s Upma – Roasted Semolina Porridge

As a child, UPMA (said “oop-ma”) was not something I ate happily. My mother loved making it because it was a default recipe. An option that was easy to default to because 1. it was easy – this word is going to get repetitive- and 2. it was versatile. She could pack in some nutrition for a peppy (fried pin wheel msg flavoured snack) eating kid by sneaking some carrots or peas in there and I of course, detested that.

So while it was a struggle to get to me say yes to Upma, once it would present itself in front of me, all hot and steamy, scantily dressed with some SEV. I could never resist it and as you can imagine, over the years upma’s simplistic persistence has yielded in me growing to love it. Here is a family recipe, championed by our Amamma (grandma) and her variation is the addition of Turmeric and Tomatoes.


What you will need:

  • 1 cup Semolina
  • 1 Tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • Handful of curry leaves
  • 2 Green Chillies slit lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp Hing (asofoetida)
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/3 cup grated Coconut
  • 1 inch Ginger, grated
  • Half a small onion finely chopped (1/3 cup)
  • Half tomato finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste & coriander leaves to garnish.


How to cook:

  1. Dry roast the Rava (semolina) on a low-medium flame for about 10 to 15 mins. Add ghee to this about 5 to 7 minutes in. Make sure you are stirring this constantly as you want to distribute the heat evenly and avoid it from concentrating on any one bit as this could cause it to either burn or get an uneven colour. Need to do this until the raw, powdery smell is replaced by a warm, sweet roasted aroma. Roasting the rava will add flavour but all make the grains puff up and separate. 
  2. Set the rava aside and prepare the seasoning. Add about 1 Tbs of Ghee, once this is hot add ingredients in the following order:
    – Mustard seeds
    -Green chillies
    – Hing
    -Curry leaves
    – Onion and Ginger
  3. Sauté the seasoning mixture until the onions are translucent (you do not want to brown them)
  4. Next add the tomatoes and cook the mixture another 7 minutes then adding salt and sugar and 3 cups of water.
  5. Check for balance in seasoning, adjust if needed and then add turmeric. Leave it to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. check for slight dry porridge like consistency; the water should be completely absorbed. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and fresh grated coconut.


Happy cooking 🙂



One thought on “Amamma’s Upma – Roasted Semolina Porridge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s