Cauliflower Upma

Upma is a really popular south Indian breakfast made from cream of wheat (rava). Not only is it easy to make, but it is also quite healthy actually. I know that this is a basic recipe that most people are already familiar with. However, what makes this post different is that I have used a different combination of veggies than what is used traditionally. Most often people put together a quick upma for breakfast with some onions and tomatoes. Another really popular version is one that uses peas, carrots and green beans. However, we don’t have to restrict ourselves to this, right? 🙂


More often that not, we associate a dish with some specific combination of veggies and after a while it does get boring! I personally think that the best way to sustain the interest level in a dish at the dinner table is to make a small change to it. Try this out – not just with this upma, but with any dish that you prepare. Just mixing and matching up ingredients is a great way to be creative in the kitchen. This really helps me a lot because I don’t like repetitive items week after week. Trying out old recipes with a nice twist keeps me going through the week!



In this recipe, the cauliflower adds a slight crunch to the melt-in-the-mouth upma and takes the health quotient of the upma up a notch 🙂 This is a perfect combination of a variety of flavors and aromas – the tangy flavor of lime,the spiciness of the chillies, the hint of ginger and aroma of curry leaves!
  1. 1 cup semolina or rava or sooji
  2. 1 small sized head of cauliflower – I used about 2 cups of cauliflower
  3. 1/3 cup green peas
  4. 2-3 tsp oil
  5. 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  6. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  7. 1/2 tsp Chana dal
  8. 1/2 tsp urad dal
  9. 4-5 dried red chillies torn roughly into 2-3 pieces each (adjust as per your taste, you can substitute with green chillies also)
  10. 1 inch ginger piece grated finely
  11. 10-15 curry leaves (torn roughly)
  12. Juice from 1/2 lemon
  13. 2 tbsp grated coconut
  14. Salt to taste
Preparation Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 15 min
Servings: 2-3


  1. Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Soak them in warm water with some turmeric and salt for about 5 minutes. Drain the water and wash a couple of times.
  2. Take a large saucepan. Heat 1 tsp oil in it. Once the oil is hot, add the Chana dal. Roast it till the color just starts to change. Add the urad dal and roast till it also slightly till it changes color. Then add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Add the red chillies (or chopped green chillies) Sauté well till the mustard seeds crackle.
  3. Then to this seasoning, add the rava or semolina. Reduce heat to low and roast the semolina till the color changes slightly. (Don’t let the semolina brown a lot) This step should take about 5 -6 minutes.
  4. Take the roasted semolina into a separate bowl. To the same pan, add the cauliflower and sprinkle some water and salt. Let the cauliflower cook for about 5 minutes. Sauté in between.
  5. Once the cauliflower is half done, add the green peas too and let them cook.  (don’t over cook the cauliflower as it will become mushy)
  6. While the veggies are cooking, take 2 cups of water in another saucepan and bring it to a boil.
  7. Add this boiling water to the pan of vegetables. Add the lemon juice, curry leaves and ginger to the boiling water. Add salt as required for cooking the rava also into this water. ( if you add it after adding the rava, it might not mix well)
  8. Then slowly add the roasted semolina into this boiling water. Be sure to keep stirring the mixture in the pan while adding the semolina so that no lumps form.
  9. Drizzle 2 tsp oil and grated coconut now and mix everything well.
  10. Reduce heat to low. Close a lid on the pan and let the semolina sit for about 5 min.  After this the upma is ready to be served! Garnish with some fresh cilantro and serve for breakfast or even a wholesome weeknight dinner.


  1. The rava needs to be added to boiling water only. If the water is not hot enough the rava won’t cook well.
  2. I use a ratio of 1 part rava and 2 parts water. This gives a little coarse upma which I like.
  3. I like to watch how much oil/ghee I use, so I have used a minimum amount here. Feel free to adjust as per your taste. Adding ghee does add a wonderful flavor to the upma 🙂


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