Recipes: Vegetable Upma

This is another typical South Indian recipe which is made across the four southern states. Different families use slightly different ingredients to make it theirs and you can too play around with the basic recipe.

Since S’ uncle’s death ceremony rituals are not yet done, we, because we belong to the same family/clan, are also bound by the rules that govern his own family. This includes eating ‘Satvik‘ food which means that we don’t add onions or garlic to our meals till everything is done. So I made this Upma a Jain version without adding any onions or garlic. I’ve put notes after the recipe should you wish to add them when you make this dish.

Mixed Vegetable Upma


  • 1 cup semolina
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (I used french beans, carrots, frozen green peas and frozen corn), chopped into small pieces
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp split urad dal
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tbsp ghee (optional)
  • 1-litre water


  • In a deepish pan, dry roast the semolina till it starts to emit an aroma. Make sure you stir constantly so it does not brown. Remove into a plate and keep aside.
  • Boil around a litre of water and keep it hot.
  • In the same pan, heat the oil and when it warms, add in the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add the urad dal and let it brown. Then add the green chillies and ginger and stir for a couple of seconds.
  • Now add the mixed vegetables and season with salt accordingly and let the vegetables cook.
  • When the vegetables are 80% cooked, add the roasted semolina and stir well to mix. Now add the hot water, a little at a time let the semolina cook well.
  • When the semolina and vegetables are completely cooked, add a little bit more water and check for seasoning. Add a dollop of ghee (if using) and remove from the fire.
  • Serve hot with any chutney of your choice.


  • As I  mentioned earlier, this was made without any onions, so if you want to add onions to your recipe, add finely chopped onions after you add the mustard seeds, urad dal, green chillies and ginger and let it become translucent.
  • In addition to the vegetables I have used, you can also use potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli etc.


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