Upma is an ideal food for yoga practitioners if consumed in moderate quantities, up to two or three times a week. If using more than once a week, omit the cashew or peanuts, as these can cause sleep disturbance. This dish is favourable for all constitutions. Upma can also be served as a light food on half fasting days. It is recommended to be served fresh and hot, as it will become heavier to digest after cooling down.

Upma can also be made using a combination of green beans, carrot and capsicum – 1 cup in total. This combination brings a slightly different taste.

Use heaped measurements except when stated otherwise.

Serves 3

Preparation time – 30 minutes


1 cup/170g Ravā (medium-ground wheat semolina)

2½ cup/625ml boiling hot water


⅓ cup/80 ml peanut or coconut oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

1 Tblsp bengal gram

1 tsp urad dāl

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

10 pieces cashew or peanuts (optional)

1 medium-mild red chilli

1 tsp cumin seeds

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

10 fresh curry leaves


1 cup/140g finely grated carrot (1 medium-large carrot)

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp jaggery

1 tsp lemon juice

¼ cup/20g shredded dried coconut

¼ cup fresh coriander leaves


Dry fry the ravā (semolina) in a skillet over medium heat, stirring continuously for 6 -7 minutes until the ravā turns slightly golden-brown in colour and emits a good smell. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Wash, peel and grate the carrot using the finer side of a box grater – measuring 1 cup.  Cut the cashews into two, chop the chilli into three-four pieces, and finely chop the ginger. Rinse and chop the fresh coriander – measuring ¼ cup.

Measure out the remaining ingredients.  Set aside.


Over a medium-high heat, pour oil into the same skillet previously used for roasting the ravā. Add the mustard seeds, bengal gram, urad dāl, asafoetida powder, cashews and chilli pieces, when the mustard seeds start to pop and the bengal gram is golden in colour, add the cumin seeds, turmeric powder and curry leaves – allow to fry for 10 seconds.

Stir in the grated carrot, pour in the boiling water and add the chopped ginger, salt, sugar, lemon juice and dried coconut. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 1 minute.

Lower the heat to medium and pour in the ravā, stirring continuously – until the water has evaporated. A good indication that the Upma is ready is when the ravā does not stick to the spoon – approximately 2 mins.  Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped coriander.

Serve while still warm. Drizzle with one-two teaspoons of ghee for a good taste and to aid digestion.

Carrot Halva or Kaseri Bath go well alongside this dish. Pickle or Chutney Puri can also be served with Upma.

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