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Alternative namesUppuma, Uppittu, Uppumavu, Uppindi, Kharabath, Upeet, Rulanv
Place of originIndia
Main ingredientsSemolina or coarse rice flour

Upma, uppumavu, or uppittu is a dish originating from the Indian subcontinent, most common in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana,[1] Karnataka, Maharashtrian, and Sri Lankan Tamil breakfast, cooked as a thick porridge from dry-roasted semolina or coarse rice flour.[2] Various seasonings and/ vegetables are often added during the cooking, depending on individual preferences.


The different names for the dish derive from the combinations of word uppu, meaning salt in Tamil and mavu means ground grain meal in Tamil.[3] In North India, the dish is called upma. In Maharashtra the dish traditionally had the name saanja in Marathi.

Language Roman Transliteration Native Unicode
Gujarati Upma ઉપમા
Kannada Uppittu, kharabath ಉಪ್ಪಿಟ್ಟು, ಖಾರಬಾತ್
Tamil Uppuma உப்புமா
Malayalam Uppumavu ഉപ്പുമാവ്
Telugu Upma, Uppindi ఉప్మా, ఉప్పిండి
Marathi Saanja, uppeet, upma सांजा, उप्पीट/उपमा
Konkani Rulanv रुलांव
Hindi Upma उपमा
Odia Upma ଉପମା
Bengali Upma উপমা
Nutritional value per 120 gm
Energy1,046 kJ (250 kcal)
Dietary fiber3.2 g
Saturated0.916 g
Monounsaturated1.54 g
Polyunsaturated0.944 g
223 mg
190 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

Ingredients and preparation

Upma is typically made by first lightly dry roasting semolina (called rava or sooji in India). The semolina is then taken off the fire and kept aside while spices, lentils, onion, ginger, etc are sautéed in oil or ghee. The semolina is then added back to the pan and mixed thoroughly. Boiling water is added, and the mixture is stirred until the semolina absorbs the liquid and becomes fluffy in texture.[4][5]

There are several ways in which upma is made, and the variations are obtained by either adding or removing spices and vegetables. The texture can vary significantly as well, depending on how much water is added to it, and how long the mixture is allowed to remain on the flame thereafter.

Major variations

Semolina upma

Upma made from sooji
Upma made from sooji

The most popular version with wide variations of upma are made with whole or refined ground semolina made out of durum wheat. Sometimes a wide range of vegetables may be added, and may be garnished with a variety of beans (raw or sprouted), cashew and peanuts. For a variation called masala upma (known as kharabath in Karnataka), sambar masala or garam masala is added along with red chilli powder, instead of green chillies. This variety is more popular in Karnataka, Maharastra, Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh and is usually served in South Indian restaurants. Uppumavu paired with hand mashed banana is a common breakfast item in Kerala homes.

Whole wheat upma

Wheat upma
Wheat upma

Whole wheat or wheat dalia (cracked wheat) is a common variation of upma in Tamil Nadu, where it is eaten for breakfast or dinner. Sometimes it is cooked with vegetables like peas, carrots, and beans.

Upma Pesarattu

Upma Pesarattu is the most popular version in Andhra Pradesh, Yanam and Telangana. The dish contains Upma and Pesarattu combined. The upma is eaten by wrapping it in the Pesarattu.[6][7]

Rice upma

Broken rice upma with coconut chutney
Broken rice upma with coconut chutney

Rice upma, which is mainly popular in Tamil Nadu and southern parts of Karnataka, is referred to as akki tari uppittu (rice coarse flour uppittu). Another variant of upma is prepared with grated coconut instead of onions, especially on holy days, when onion is avoided. This type of upma is generally smeared with ghee at the end of preparation. Dishes similar to upma can be made by substituting small crumbs of leftover bread or idli instead of flour. Upma made from coarser rava known as sajjige is a dish of Udupi cuisine. It is sometimes served along with snacks such as sautéed and spiced poha or chevdo.

Corn upma

Corn upma
Corn upma

Another variation, particularly as a breakfast dish, is corn upma, eaten with milk and nuts.[8]

Kesari bhath

In Karnataka, upma is also served with another common sweet dish of Karnataka, kesari bhath (ಕೇಸರಿ ಬಾತ್), with a scoop of each on one plate, in a presentation commonly called "chow chow bath".

Aval upma/Atukula upma

In Kerala & Andhra Pradesh, upma made with flattened rice in substitution to semolina this dish is popularly called as Aval upmavu in Malayalam (അവൽ ഉപ്പുമാവ്) & Atukulu upma (అటుకులు ఉప్మా) in Telugu. This variant is also known as aval upma in the Chennai region when made with rice flakes similar to poha.

Vermicelli upma

Vermicelli upma
Vermicelli upma

A popular light evening snack is upma made with vermicelli and tomato, peas and carrot.

Upma served with ghugni

In most parts of Odisha, a popular breakfast consists of sooji upma served with ghugni.

See also

how to cook upma


  1. ^ Pandya, M. (1985). Indian Vegetarian Cooking. Inner Traditions/Bear. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-89281-342-1. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Poha or upma? Shabana Azmi and Twitter divided over breakfast dish". Hindustan Times. 9 October 2017.
  3. ^ Burrow, T. (Thomas); Emeneau, M. B. ; 1904-; (Murray Barnson) (1984). "A Dravidian etymological dictionary". Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  4. ^ Dubey, Krishna Gopal (27 September 2010). THE INDIAN CUISINE. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 9788120341708.
  5. ^ "Upma: Here's All You Need To Know About The Traditional Indian Breakfast Dish". NDTV Food. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  6. ^ Chef and Her Kitchen. "MLA Pesarattu ..aka.... Upma Pesarattu....Andhra's Signature Recipe". Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  7. ^ "Upma Pesarattu Dosa (Traditional Andhra Breakfast) recipe | Breakfast recipes | Bethica Das recipes". RecipeBook. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  8. ^ Dalal, Tarla (28 October 2003). Healthy breakfast. Mumbai: Sanjay. p. 9. ISBN 9788186469811.