Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day and most of the times, our busy lives lead us to the usual-suspects i.e. cereals / eggs / bagels and such. This sheer monotony should motivate us to look for other options. I typically do this during the weekend mornings when there is relatively more time to try something that is a little more time-intensive than cereals :).  So, how about some delicious South Indian fare called  Upma that is like a porridge or risotto but really yummy 🙂

Upma is a common breakfast item made in South India. Although made with typical ingredients like rice or broken wheat, the use of  Vermicelli  (“Little worms”) gives the upma a very nice texture and kids love it because it is like noodles. Now, Let us get right to the making,shall we? 


  • Vermicelli – 2 cups
  • Olive oil – 3 to 4 Tbsp
  • Water – Enough to submerge the flavored vermicelli . It has to be hot when added to the mixture
For spluttering:
  • Mustard- 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin- 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida (aka hing) – A pinch
  • Optional
    • Peanuts – 2 tbsp
    • Cashews- 2 tbsp
    • Curry leaves – A bunch say 10-12

I prefer to add a variety of colorful veggies and I would leave it to your personal preference. My typical choices are

  • Carrots, bell peppers, onions (julienned)
  • Shelled edamame
  • Tomato – 1 cup diced
  • Ginger – thinly sliced, 1/2 thumb size
  • Chopped cilantro for garnishing
  • Thai green chili or serrano per your preference
Spice powder:
  • 1/2 tsp each of Chili powder, turmeric, cumin powder, black pepper powder
  • Salt – to taste


  • Heat oil in a heavy pan. To this,  add the spluttering ingredients one at a time starting with mustard. Add the other ingredients after mustard crackling is complete

Crackling components

  • To this mixture add  the onion, give it a quick toss a