Upma ( Cream of Wheat with Vegetables)

Upma is a savory version of Halwa and can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Yogurt Raita and salad are great accompaniments. This is a shortcut, microwave version. You can also cook it on the stove top.

3/4 cup cream of wheat or semolina or sooji
1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 1/2 tbsps. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
10 curry leaves (see notes)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup shredded or diced carrots
1 medium tomato, diced (optional).
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp chopped green chilies (optional)
1/2 cup onions, chopped (optional, see notes)
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup toasted peanuts or cashew pieces (optional)
coriander leaves and lime wedges for garnish

If using onions, saute them in 1/2 tablespoon oil in a pan on the stove (it is tedious to fry onions in the microwave). You can use 1/4 cup fried onions sold in Indian grocery stores instead.
Curry leaves are fragrant leaves that give a spicy flavor to Upma (see picture). They are used in many South Indian dishes and are available fresh or dried at Indian grocery stores.


  • Mix cream of wheat, mustard seeds, cumin and one tablespoon oil in a microwave safe bowl.
  • Cook for 2 minutes, stir. 
  • Add red pepper, ginger and curry leaves. Roast for one minute. Cream of wheat should be light brown in color and have a roasted, nutty fragrance. If not, roast for one more minute (watch Halwa video to learn more about roasting cream of wheat). 
  • Stir in vegetables, turmeric (onions, green chilies), salt and water. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes until Upma comes to a rolling boil. 
  • Cook 2 more minutes on high. If the consistency is soupy, cook an additional minute. 
  • Cover and rest Upma for 5 minutes. 
  • Mix in peanuts and/or cashews
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and lime wedges, serve warm.
Copyright © Rashmi Rustagi 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Gluten Free Upma with Cream of Rice or Grits:
Follow Upma recipe substituting cream of wheat with Cream of Rice or Grits, following the package directions for the recommended amount of water. Tastes just as great!
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