Hearty Upma

Semolina & vegetables cooked together and tempered with aromatic curry leaves & mustard seeds. This savoury one-pot breakfast dish hails from South-India. The addition of beetroot not only makes the dish healthier but renders a beautiful colour to it as an added bonus. So if you think you can only use beetroot in a salad, you must give this recipe a try!

Time: 20 minutes


Serves: 2

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  1. 1 cup coarse semolina
  2. 1 tablespoon oil
  3. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  4. 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
  5. 7-8 curry leaves
  6. 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  7. 1 teaspoon freshly ground ginger
  8. 1 teaspoon finely chopped green chillies
  9. 2 tablespoons green peas (fresh or frozen)
  10. 1 small beetroot
  11. 1/2 cup yogurt
  12. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves
  13. 1 teaspoon ghee (optional)
  14. Salt to taste


  1. Heat oil in a deep pan. Add mustard seeds, when they start crackling, add curry leaves, asafoetida, green peas and chopped onions. Sauté on medium heat for about 2 minutes.
  2. Put half of the sautéed onions in another pan.
  3. Add one cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon chopped green chillies to each pan. Bring it to a boil.
  4. Peel the beetroot and cut it into pieces and puree it in a grinder. Add this puree to one of the pans.
  5. Take the yogurt in a bowl and whisk it well. Divide it into 2 equal parts and add it to both the pans. Add 1/2 cup of semolina to each pan immediately after adding the yogurt to prevent the yogurt from curdling. Add salt and 1/2 teaspoon ghee to each pan. Mix well and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Uncover the pans and stir well. The upma should get the right consistency at this point; it should not be too watery but not too dry as well. It should be soft and moist in texture. The upma with beetroot will get a very nice deep pink colour.
  7. Add chopped coriander leaves to both the pans and mix well.
  8. Take a circular mould and place it in the middle of your serving plate. Fill the mould by placing the plain upma inside the mould. Even the surface with the help of a spoon. When the upma is set, carefully remove the mould from outside. Take a heart shaped mould (you can use any shape of your choice), place it gently on top of upma and repeat the same process using beetroot upma. Gently remove the mould when the upma is set.
  9. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

Comments about Hearty Upma

  1. Hi Tanu,

    I was planning to make this upma on Valentine’s day for breakfast but could not wait to try this. Just wanted to say that I have never managed to make the upma with such nice texture, it was just perfect. I guess I could never get the water semolina ratio right. Thanks for this wonderful recipe, although I did not make it heart shaped but both upmas were extremely yummy.

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