Upma – the Indian Cream of Wheat

my Indian grocery spree

A few months ago I found a local Indian grocery, with a general international (mostly asian) shop right next door. Went on a little shopping spree…


One thing I bought was soji/suji – or semolina. After reading many delicious sounding (and looking!) recipes, I was anxious to try upma. If I had seen this great recipe at Sailu’s Food before I bought suji, I might have tried upma with the box of Cream of Wheat in the pantry. I found the suji quite different from cream of wheat I am accustomed to, which takes longer to cook. Suji thickened right up almost the moment it hit boiling water. The next time I make this, I will be sure to cook the veggies a little longer first. I also thought suji was more delicate both in consistency and flavor.


ingredients for upma


Here is what I used for my upma experiment:

“cream of wheat”

1 1/2 c. suji
3 c. water
2 tsp. salt


1 japanese eggplant, quartered lengthwise, chopped, and lightly salted
1 carrot, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c. spinach leaves, torn
1/2 can diced tomatoes, drained (ripe tomatoes are so scarce this time of year)


2 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
1 small green chile, halved
a tempering/tadka of 1 tsp. each cumin and mustard seeds plus a few curry leaves sauteed in 1 tsp. ghee


I mostly followed Sailu and Indira’s excellent instructions and toasted the suji. Fried the tadka ingredients in 1 tsp. ghee, then added ginger-garlic paste, chili, and veggies. When the onion and pepper began to wilt, I added the water and brought to a rolling boil. Added the suji in a steady stream, stirring all the time (this part is just like making polenta). I was ready to cover the pan and let the upma thicken slowly, but it formed a lovely veggie-studded ball around the spoon in about ten seconds! So I turned the heat down to very low and let it sit, covered, to help the carrots and eggplant soften a little. In about twenty minutes total, I had a delicious new dinner – upma with fresh lime squeezed over.

upma with fresh lime

Thank you Sailu and Indira, for a new recipe that might even make my kids think twice about ‘hot cereal’.



  1. sailaja said

    Your most welcome..:)
    Love your enthusiasm.

  2. Thanks Sailaja – it’s easy to be enthusiastic about a whole new world of food to explore!

  3. Indira said

    Suji forming into lumps is the main problem, lot of people face while making this upma. Continuous stirring prevents that, and you did exactly right. Your suji upma dinner looks delicious, Linda. Thanks for the mention.

  4. Trupti said

    OH my…I am soooo drooling Linda. This Upma looks just right, soft and moist, I like it like THAT!



    Where did this come from!? I never noticed it till today — thank you 🙂

    Good thing I went looking for my early early posts. And where are you these days, Trupti dear!? 🙂

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