Savory Semolina (Uppuma)

(Photo by GoDakshin/Flickr)

There are many versions of this favorite dish. Some are simply semolina and spices without the addition of vegetables.

Serves 6.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ghee
400 g/14 oz/2 cups coarse semolina
1 tablespoon urad dhal
1 tablespoon channa dhal
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 fresh chillies, sliced
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup diced vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, capsicum)
500 ml/1 pint/2 cups hot water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
wedge of lime or lemon


Heat half the oil and half the ghee in a heavy saucepan and fry the semolina, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until it is golden. Turn it into a bowl and wipe out the pan with a paper towel.

Heat remaining oil and ghee and fry the dhals until they are golden. Add the mustard seeds, chillies, ginger, onion and vegetables and stir for about 5 minutes or until they smell fragrant. Add hot water and salt, bring to the boil, then add semolina and stir until it boils. Cover pan with well-fitting lid and cook on low heat for about 8 minutes until semolina is cooked through. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with a wedge of lime or lemon.

Note: A variation on this recipe is to use 1 cup diced eggplant instead of the other vegetables, and add an extra tablespoon of oil when frying it with the onion, chillies, and ginger.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)