Saturday, February 23, 2008

1001 Uppuma ( South Indian savoury porridge )

Uppuma ( ooh- pooh- ma) is a South Indian savoury porridge, generally made from cream of wheat ( Sooji / Rava ). Known as Upma in Tamil & Malayalam, Uppindi in Telugu, Upeet in Marathi and Uppittu in Kannada, they all mean "Salty- flour". In north India the savoury version is not cooked , though we find a sweet version called Sooji Halwa. In south India, the savoury version is the most common, though we have a sweet version too, called Kesari.

Model Upmas: These mouthwatering Upmas are some of the best recipes I've come across
Semiya Upma
Rava Upma
Vegetable Upma
Cracked wheat Upma
Dalia - Cracked wheat Upma 2: With some great photos
Oatmeal Upma

Uppuma - A Primer
Uppuma is nothing but a porridge made from cracked grains. Porridge is one of the oldest foods of mankind (they have been found in the stomachs of 5000 year old bodies). For much of history fine flour was a luxury as flour making technology was not available. However, it is easy to coarsely grind a cereal or legume. These grits were then boiled in a liquid. This is a simple, foolproof way to draw nourishment from grains or legumes. So it is no wonder almost all nations have their own versions of Upma made from locally available grains, flavoured by their traditional flavourings.

You will find Oats porridge ( from steel cut oats or rolled oats) in most of Europe and USA ( cooked with milk and sugar), and maize porridge in Mexico ( cooked with milk and chocolate).

A variety of cornmeal porridges are common in the southern US. Sorghum porridge is common in many African nations. The famous peas porridge made from pea grits are eaten in England and Scotland. You'll bump into Barley porridge ( Tsampa) in Tibet, Cornmeal porridge ( polenta) in Italy, Buckwheat porridge in parts of Russia, Millet porridge in Namibia and Middle East,and Rye porridge in Finland.

Though I prefer my Uppuma semisolid ( and that's why the recipe calls for four cups of water for each cup of grits) , you can alter the amount of water to make it thicker or mushier. Remember that Uppuma thickens dramatically on cooling.

In a good uppuma, the grits can be tasted separately and have not turned into mush. The secret to doing this is to precook the grits by dry roasting them. They should spend as less time as possible simmering in boiling liquid, usually less than a minute. The more time the grits are boiled, the more are the chances that they become mush. Learn this key skill and cooking up a variety of Uppumas is a breeze.


Mythreyee said...

how did I not come across this wonderful site for so long. Kalakureenga Ramki. by the way, thanks for including my recipe. Very resourceful site.

Priya said...


You can also check out my Dali (Cracked wheat upma) at

Asian Vegetarian said...

Thanks for including my recipe for Cracked wheat upma
Asian Vegetarian

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