Quinoa repurposed for a South Indian recipe – Quinoa Upma

Quinoa Upma

Quinoa Upma

Upma is a staple in South Indian (esp. Tamilian) vegetarian cooking. Made with semolina, it is often served for breakfast or “Tiffin” (afternoon snack) with Coconut Chutney. A couple of years back a friend in the Bay Area, Shubhra Srivastav, had made Quinoa Upma for us when we were visiting her. It was very good but I had forgotten about it till recently when my wife cooked up a batch of her special Quinoa salad (recipe here) and had a couple of cups of cooked Quinoa left over.

The next morning, I made Quinoa Upma with the leftovers and discovered that a) it is much easier to make than regular Upma b) is healthier and c) tastes pretty good. So here is an approximate recipe since, as usual, I was winging it and not taking measurements when cooking.

INGREDIENTS (breakfast-sized portions for 3-4 people)

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

A pinch asafetida

1 Tbsp Mustard Seeds

8-10 curry leaves

1/2 onion diced

1 cup frozen peas

2 cups cooked Quinoa

Salt to taste

Juice of 1 lemon


1. Heat oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add asafetida and mustard seeds till they begin to sputter.

2. Add the curry leaves for till they just start to wilt and add the onion.

3. Fry the onions till they start to brown and add the peas. Cook, stirring often, till the peas are cooked (about 6-7 minutes). Add a small amount of water if you need to (a few Tbsps) to cook the peas).

4. Add the cooked Quinoa, season with salt. Heat through.

5. Squeeze half a lemon on top (add more if you like the tartness) and serve hot with Coconut Chutney or an Indian style pickle of your choice.


Filed under Indian

2 responses to “Quinoa repurposed for a South Indian recipe – Quinoa Upma

  1. Ani

    I love substituting quinoa for rice – so much more protein!

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