Instant Upma mix

Upma is a popular breakfast in southern India, however, these days it has become popular all over India. Making upma from scratch is usually an easy process, however, sometimes you need things that you can whip up instantly in a matter of minutes without breaking a sweat. That is when the instant upma mix comes in handy. Just add water and microwave it for 2 mins, and it is ready to eat. 

Instant upma makes for a great quick hot breakfast or a healthy lunchbox fix for kids and adults. Add some vegetables to it and it makes for a great weekend brunch or dinner. The mix stays good at room temperature for about a month in an airtight container which also makes it a great companion while traveling or camping. 

Enjoy this instant upma anytime you want a warm and comforting meal…


  •  2 lbs Semolina/Coarse Rava (Readily available in Indian Grocery stores)
  • 3/4 cup Oil (any vegetable oil)
  • 10-15 Thai Chillies, chopped (adjust per your taste)
  • 10-15 Curry leaves 
  • 1 tablespoon Mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoon Salt, adjust per taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon Urad dal, wash and soak in water for 15-20mins, drain water and keep aside (Readily available in Indian Grocery stores)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon Chana dal, wash and soak in water for 15-20mins, drain water and keep aside (Readily available in Indian Grocery stores)

How To:

  • Add semolina to a pan, dry roast it on medium heat until semolina changes color to light pink, about 10-15 mins. Stir continuously to evenly roast the semolina and prevent it from burning. Once done transfer it to a wide bowl & allow it to cool.
  • In the same pan heat oil, add mustard seeds, let it splutter. Once the spluttering slows down add cumin seeds to it, cook it for till it starts turning light pink, this will take less than a minute.
  • Turn the heat to low, add drained chana dal to the pan and stir it well. Cook it till it starts changing color to light pink, about 1-2 minutes on medium flame. Note that it might splatter a bit when you add dal so keep the heat low while you add it, then turn it back to medium.
  • Now add urad dal to the pan and mix all this well till urad dal changes color to light pink, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add green chilies to the pan and saute them on medium heat for about 2 minutes.
  • Turn the heat to low and add curry leaves to the pan, this will splatter so be careful. Continue cooking till the chilies become slightly crisp.
  • Now add turmeric and salt, mix well.
  • Add roasted semolina to this and mix all together well on low heat. Cook this mix further for about 5-7 minutes till the upma mix starts looking crisp, make sure you stir it continuously. Taste and add more salt if needed, it should be a bit on the salty side.


  • Take it off the heat, allow it to cool completely for a couple of hours. Once it is completely cooled off transfer this into an air-tight glass jar for later use. Store it in a cool place outside at room temperature or in the fridge.



Serving suggestion:

  • Microwave version (Serves 2)- Add 1 cup upma mix, 2-1/2 cups water, peas (if using), 1 green chili (if using), and salt to taste in a microwave-safe bowl, mix it well and taste for seasoning. Microwave it for 1-1/2 minutes on high. Remove and fluff it, add more water if needed and microwave again for 30 seconds. Cover it and let it rest for 1 more minute. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
  • Hot water version (Serves 2) – In a big bowl add 1 cup of Upma mix, add 2-1/2 cups of boiling hot water to it, mix it and cover it. Let it sit for about 5-6 minutes. Fluff it and serve.


  • All the ingredients are easily available in an Indian grocery store, some brands might be different.
  • Make sure you are roasting all the ingredients well to have a better shelf life especially chilies.
  • Let the mix cool down completely before storing it, this will prevent moisture build up.
  • The mix stays fresh for about 1 month outside at room temperature and about 4 months in the refrigerator.  Store it in a glass container.
  • Yogurt gives the upma a tangy flavor. You can, however, skip adding it if you prefer a non-tangy taste.
  • In the absence of yogurt, you can also add a few drops of fresh lime to make it tangy.
  • Upma to water ratio is 1: 2-1/2
  • If using buttermilk/yogurt add 2 parts of water and rest buttermilk or yogurt.  Check towards the end, add more water if needed.
  • If you plan to add more chilies while making upma, use frozen ones as they are easy to grate and blends in well with the upma.



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