Semolina & Quinoa Upma (Savory Porridge)

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastWhile the whole world has gone crazy over quinoa and come back, here I am, a food snob you may call who never liked it. I found it gritty and bitter and terribly failed to admire it.When everyone was riding the quinoa bandwagon a few years back, just when I had just entered the food blogging world, I could barely tolerate it in puddings with loads of nuts and cardamom thrown in to cover its taste. I stopped buying it because I felt intimidated by it.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastA couple of months back, at Whole foods check out, I spotted a packet of red quinoa on sale and I almost jumped on it (more because it was a good deal a Wholefoods & less for the deal itself), anyhow I got it home again. A week before that, I had spotted this delicious looking salad in bon appetit paired with a beautiful chunk of fish and I decided to give quinoa another chance thinking that my love for fish and pistachios will pass over the dislike when they all are plated together.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastIt turned out that red quinoa was such a revelation. Vastly tastier and less stinky than the plain one. I liked the nuttiness and the earthly flavor which I didn’t admire much during the first years. And the fact that even though you are eating a grain but not piling up on carbohydrates, proteins & fibre instead was such a cool thing.

I would not say that quinoa is a favorite thing in the kitchen yet like rice or oats and even tough I am still a far away from eating it all on its own but we are enjoying it a lot mixed in with other grains, vegetables and or serving it alongside proteins.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastIn India, upma is a hugely popular breakfast down south. I love it. Its a brave thing to say for someone who likes to start the day with stuffed parathas(flatbreads), but there is something really comforting about upma.Light, moist and speckled with nuts and crunchy bite of lentils and mustard seeds,  I woke up to upma and rice idlis (steamed cakes) during the short two month trip that I chanced upon in Chennai.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfastUpma is whole grain savory, thick porridge with flavorings thrown in and mostly is traditionally served alongside a dry spice powder.Even though the sooji/suji (semolina) version is more popular in the rest of the country, anything from short grain rice to tapioca pearls to vermicelli to coarse rice powder can be used to prepare this wholesome porridge which could really be a nice, light meal in itself on a hot summer day.

Sinfully Spicy - Semolina & Quinoa Upma(Savory Porridge), #indian #breakfast

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  •  1/2 cup semolina
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa (I use this tutorial to cook )
  • 4 tbsp oil (I use half olive and half coconut, you could use ghee too)
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chana dal (bengal gram lentils)
  • 1/2 tsp split urad dal
  • 8-9 fresh curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2-3 Thai green chilies, slit (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2-3 tbsp raisins
  • Fresh Lemon Juice to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh cilantro to garnish


On a low heat, dry roast the semolina till it begins to turn light brown. Remove from heat, transfer to a plate and let cool.

In a heavy bottomed, wide pan/kadhai, heat up the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, wait till they crackle. Be careful because the seeds splutter a lot. Add the chana and urad dal next and cook for 30-40 seconds till they change color to light brown. Lower the heat and add the ginger, curry leaves and green chilies. Wait till they crackle and you see blisters on chili skin.

Next, add the onion to the pan and sauté on medium heat for 2-3 minutes till it starts to soften but does not change color. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes till they begin to soften. At this point, add the roasted semolina and cooked quinoa to the pan with 1.5 cups of water. Also, add the salt. Lower the heat and let water reduce, do not stir much. The semolina will swell up and just when the water has reduced by a little more than half, turn off the heat. Add the raisins and lemon juice and gently toss everything together.

Let sit for 10 minutes, fluff with a fork and all the water will be absorbed. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Enjoy & Thanks for Stopping by!



  1. Great recipe and wonderful photography as always :)

  2. I like quinoa sometimes, and I like do to a mix of black and white. The black – the way it looks that is – reminds me of mustard seeds. And it’s not bitter either.

    The pudding looks/sounds delicious. I’m so in awe of your photography – I keep thinking you’ve reaching a peak but then I see your next post and I’m stunned. You really need to go pro!

  3. That looks delicious! Beautiful pictures (especially the 5th & 6th shots).



  4. Anika Mathur says:

    Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2014 06:07:45 +0000 To:

  5. That looks delicious. Great idea to mix semolina and quinoa!

  6. Good idea of mixing quinoa with semolina, good pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Quinoa in upma sounds great! I have warmed up to the grain. it took me some time but I finally got there!

  8. Love the added texture from quinoa. Yum!


  1. […] body, bringing memories with itself of the days when squirts of that sweet acid graced our daliya (breakfast porridge) every now and then. I tore up a few spinach and methi (fenugreek) leaves and chewed on them, […]

  2. […] popular all over India, many mothers would be making them – uttapams (savory rice pancakes),upma(breakfast porridge) ,gun powder, coconut chutneys,dosas (rice crepes) and idlis(steamed rice […]

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