Serious Eats

Beyond Curry: Sooji Upma, an Indian Semolina Breakfast Dish

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[Photograph: Prasanna Sankhe]

The humble grains of semolina are widely used in Indian cooking. And I'm always fascinated by how versatile they can be. Sometimes sweet, sometimes savory, sometimes the crunchy coating on a simple fried fish, semolina has many wonderful avatars.

Sooji upma is a breakfast dish that's as delicious as it is good for you. Upma is welcoming of all sorts of flavors and vegetables, so if you've eaten a carrot stick too many, you can always replace it with any other veggie you like. And feel free to garnish it with scraped coconut, peanuts, cashews, bits of dry fruit or even slices of your favorite fruit.

I've always found Upma to be a sort of breakfast treasure hunt. Sometimes an emerald green pea will surface in a morsel; sometimes a fleck of crunchy peanut will peep out. And it all works beautifully because of the wonderful blank canvas that is semolina.

About the author: Denise Dsilva Sankhe is a writer & creative director by profession. But that's only when she isn't eating her way across India. She recreates this delicious cuisine in her Mumbai home, which she shares with her newly-married husband, who has long since given up his determination to have salads for dinner.

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