Looking for a healthy breakfast to kick start your day with? Something that doesn’t take too long to make, and tastes delicious too? This easy veggie-loaded upma recipe ticks all the boxes, and might just become your next breakfast favorite. A simple savory cream of wheat breakfast is definitely a perfect way to start your day!
What is Upma?
Simply put, upma or Rava upma is a quick one-pot breakfast recipe made using semolina, spices, and some veggies. It is an incredibly versatile savory dish that is super popular in India.
In the United States, it may be referred to more frequently by a popular name of cream of wheat. While not identical to the packaged versions in the cereal section, this recipe has the same base, delicious flavor, and similar texture to what you may otherwise know to be cream of wheat.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and we have featured some amazing ideas from around the world. If you are interested in different regional cuisines, check out a classic Chinese breakfast, Swedish breakfast, or even a Russian breakfast for unique additions to the first meal of the day.
Ingredients to Make the Upma
- Rava (semolina or cream of wheat)
- Olive oil
- Mustard seeds
- Curry leaves
- Ginger garlic paste
- Green beans
- Turmeric powder
- Red pepper flakes
- Coriander powder
- Ground cumin
- Lemon juice
- Fresh coriander leaves
Kitchen Tools Needed
How to Make Savory Indian Cream of Wheat
In a medium skillet, over medium heat, roast the dry semolina/Rava until it turns a golden brown color and is crisp, making sure to stir the entire time so nothing burns.
Remove from the skillet and set aside.
Into the same skillet, add olive oil, and over medium heat, cook the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and asafoetida for 1 to 2 minutes, until the seeds crackle.
Add in the peanuts, and cook, stirring regularly, for 3 to 4 minutes.
Next, add in the chopped onion, carrots, green beans, potatoes, peas, and ginger garlic paste. Saute, stirring regularly, for 3 to 4 minutes until the vegetables are softening.
Add in the turmeric, chili flakes, coriander powder, cumin, and salt. Stir to combine.
Now, add the water to the mixture and bring to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, begin adding in the already roasted semolina a little bit at a time, stirring constantly.
Continue adding the semolina to the pan until all has been added. Stir constantly until all of the water has evaporated and the semolina is softened.
Add lemon juice and stir together to combine.
Serve immediately with freshly chopped coriander.
Tips & Tricks to Nail the Upma Recipe
Ready to go ahead and replicate the recipe in your kitchen? Here are a few quick tips and tricks you might want to follow.
- Make sure you’re dry roasting the rava on low to medium heat. Initially, it may not feel like a lot is happening, but once the rava starts to turn brown, it’ll turn brown pretty quick. Make sure you’re always stirring it so that it doesn’t start to burn.
- The key to getting the texture of the upma right- fluffy and soft as opposed to sticky and mushy, is getting the water and semolina ratio right. Just follow the recipe and you should be good.
- While you can always stick to oil for this recipe, ghee (clarified butter) can really oomph up the flavors like nothing else. Swap the oil with 1-2 tablespoons ghee and that’s it!
- Traditionally, upma isn’t made with too many veggies, but this upma recipe is a bit different, and is the healthier version of the popular Indian breakfast. You can choose the veggies you like or lying in your refrigerator- it is just that versatile.
- While this recipe calls for the use of regular sooji or semolina, you can also use double roasted sooji to cut down the cooking time. If you find it, you can use it directly for the recipe without pan roasting it.
- If you’re planning to make this frequently, you can also dry roast the semolina in a big batch and store it in a jar for days when you want to whip this up quickly.
- Another excellent idea is to make an upma premix with the dry roasted semolina and all the spices, herbs and dry ingredients and store them it in a jar.
- To make this upma recipe even more healthy, you can add in some dry roasted lentils like chana dal or urad dal. They will also lend a nice nutty aroma to the upma.
- You can also sprinkle some grated coconut over the top, right before you serve the upma for a nice textural difference.
- Feeling fancy? Top the upma with some fried cashews right before you serve, as a garnish!
And if you think you’re falling in love with this upma recipe, you could also give it a try with some quinoa or roasted vermicelli instead of the semolina to bring in a little variation.
Can I Store the Leftovers For Later?
The beauty of this upma recipe is the fact that you can make it in a batch and store it for later too. It refrigerates and freezes pretty well. All you need to do is transfer the upma into airtight containers and that’s it.
You can refrigerate it for 3 days, or freeze it for up to a month. Then, when you want to serve it, just sprinkle a few drops of water into it and reheat!
Serving Ideas & Suggestions
The best part about this Rava upma recipe is the fact that it is a complete breakfast in itself. However, if you really want to take things up a notch, here are a few ideas to help you serve it.
- Pair it with some coconut chutney or coriander chutney to get an extra punch of flavor.
- If you love the flavors of South Indian food, you can also team the upma up with some Sambar (lentil stew).
- Feeling fancy and really want to prepare another delicious Indian breakfast item to serve the upma with? You can never go wrong with some piping hot aloo parathas or some sabudana vada.
- Really want to enjoy the vegetable upma Indian style? Serve it with some mango pickle on the side.
- You can also serve the upma as a light and healthy dinner. Follow it up with a nice Indian dessert of Sabudana kheer or Gajar halwa.
Vegetable Upma Indian Cream of Wheat Breakfast Recipe
- 1 cup Semolina or plain cream of wheat
- 1 tsp Olive oil
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 10 pcs Curry leaves
- A pinch Asafoetida
- 15 pcs Peanuts
- ¼ cup Finely chopped red onion
- 1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
- ¼ cup Finely chopped carrots
- ⅛ cup Chopped green beans
- ¼ cup Finely cubed potatoes
- ⅛ cup Peas
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp Coriander powder
- 1 tsp Ground cumin
- 2 tsp Salt to taste
- 1 ½ cup Water
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- For garnish Coriander leaves chopped
- In a medium skillet, over medium heat, roast the dry semolina/Rava until it turns a golden brown color and is crisp, making sure to stir the entire time so nothing burns.
- Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Into the same skillet, add olive oil, and over medium heat, cook the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and asafoetida for 1 to 2 minutes, until the seeds crackle.
- Add in the peanuts, and cook, stirring regularly, for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Next, add in the chopped onion, carrots, green beans, potatoes, peas, and ginger garlic paste. Saute, stirring regularly, for 3 to 4 minutes until the vegetables are softening.
- Add in the turmeric, chili flakes, coriander powder, cumin, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Now, add the water to the mixture and bring to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling, begin adding in the already roasted semolina a little bit at a time, stirring constantly. Continue adding the semolina to the pan until all has been added. Stir constantly until all of the water has evaporated and the semolina is softened.
- Add lemon juice and stir together to combine.
- Serve immediately with freshly chopped coriander.