Upma (Savoury Semolina Porridge)

One of my Mums favourite…


Baby SK made the impossible, possible! He managed to get his Nanimaa (maternal grandmother) on the plane to Australia. I couldn’t get her to come visit me, not once in the seven years I’ve been in this country. However knowing her first grandson was soon going to make an appearance, made it a simply irresistible offer.

My parents arrived a week before baby SK was due, of course little did we know the little man was going to be true to his half Indian heritage and arrive almost two weeks later. Anyway I made the most of the free time by doing things I love and as you know one of my top favourites is cooking for my family. 


I introduced my parents to the concept of ‘brunch’.  Sleeping in till 11:00am meant my parents and I were going to be brunching a lot. After all I had to cash in on any sleep inns I could get before baby SK came because after that a good night’s sleep would only be a dream. 

Now my mum doesn’t eat eggs which makes serving up a delicious brunch a little bit of a challenge. A sign of a good cook though is the ability to adapt their culinary style to suit every, well almost every palette. So one morning I decided to make Upma and it went down a treat. Here’s the recipe. 


Ingredients: 13  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 250gms of raw semolina
  • 100gms of channa dal
  • 100gms of roasted peanuts
  • Four tablespoons of freshly grated or desiccated coconut
  • One medium onion, finely chopped 
  • One to two green chillies, finely chopped 
  • One tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • Eight to ten curry leaves
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • One teaspoon mustard seeds
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • One heaped tablespoon ghee
  • Salt to season 

Begin by soaking the channa dal in warm water and keep aside.

Roast semolina on a low to medium heat lightly browned and aromatic. Keep aside.

In another pan, heat ghee. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let them splutter. Now add curry leaves, let them splutter until aromatic.

Add onion and grated ginger, cook until onion is translucent. Now add the channa dal, peanuts and half the coconut. Mix the ingredients well. Cook this mixture on a medium heat for five to seven minutes.


 Now add about 500ml of water and let it bubble. Then add the roasted semolina and stir continuously, ensuring no lumps are formed.

Add lemon juice, the remaining coconut and season with salt as required. Stir and cook the semolina on a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. 


 Your upma is ready to serve. I served it with a side of hot and crispy butter toast and a cup of masala chai. Just as my mum likes to eat it.