Upma (Uppuma)


  • 1 cup semolina (rava/sooji)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small leek
  • ½ inch piece ginger
  • 3 – 4 dried red chilies
  • 1 strand curry leaves
  • Few cashew nuts broken into small pieces (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 cup boiling water


  • Roast semolina in a kadai for about 10 minutes in a very low flame (stir continuously to make sure semolina does not get burned or become golden)
  • After roasting, leave the semolina on a tray to cool
  • Slit the carrot lengthwise and then chop them into thin slices.  Chop onion into very small pieces.  Also slice the leek into very thin pieces
  • In the same vessel, add oil and add mustard seeds
  • When the mustard seed start splattering add onion and carrots and fry until the onion start turning light brown on the edges
  • Add leek, cashew nuts and fry for another 3 – 4 minutes
  • Add ginger, dried red chilies, curry leaves and fry for another two minutes
  • Add roasted semolina, salt and fry for about 3 – 4 minutes
  • Add boiling water little at a time and stir the semolina mixture continuously with a wooden spoon
  • Close the vessel with a lid and leave it on a very low flame for about one or two minutes and then stir well
  • Serve with any pickle, coconut sambol or any gray (tomato gravy goes best with this)

Note: To make the Upma spicier, you can add a little bit chili powder just before adding the semolina to the vegetable mix.

Yields: 2 – 3 servings as main dish

4 thoughts on “Upma (Uppuma)

  1. Hmm… Quite different from my recipe. I wonder if people living in different areas in Jaffna cooked Uppuma differently.

    1. Must be different in different parts of Jaffna, My m-in-law does not add a lot of vegetables. Also my mother makes in 2 ways. Either she uses the sesame seed (Gingelly) oil or uses vegetable oil but if she uses vegetable oil, at the end she will add some Ghee for flavor and taste.

      1. I can share my recipe with you. See if it works for you. I made it into PDF file, so I’ll share with you in a Facebook message. Let me know what you think, if you do use it.

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