My Mother’s Masala Uppumav Recipe ~ Cookbook Author Sabita Radhakrishna

by on November 2, 2009

Here is another delightful Tribute Recipe by Sabita Radhakrishna, the cookbook author from Chennai. She pays a tribute to her mother – Mrs. Leela Chander – an elderly lady with youthful smiles and enthusiasm. I met her along with Jigyasa Giri, soon after we published our cookbook of Pedatha’s recipes. Both of us felt the same thing when we met her – she reminded us so much of our dear Pedatha – the same smile, enthusiasm, and culinary expertise.

Sabita writes:

This recipe of Masala Uppumav has been a childhood favourite and we clamoured for it at every party. None of us could make it like my mother, with every grain of semolina separate, yet not too oily and tasting just like a pulao. For our Deepavalli bashes, which is usually a grand brunch, Mummy’s masala uppumav is a must by popular demand!

Masala Uppumav Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 6):

  • 2 cups semolina
  • 3 cups water (keep extra hot water to be used if required)

The Tempering:

  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced fine
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • My Jain friends can try this delicious Upma by avoiding the onions and ginger-garlic paste. Instead, add a fistful of fresh peas.
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 6 curry leaves
  • ¾ tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 medium-sized ripe tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • juice of ½ lime

For Garnish:

  • ½ cup coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 8 cashew nuts


  1. Clean and sift the semolina. Fry lightly in a kadai, stirring continuously so that it does not brown. Transfer on to a plate. Heat the water, and keep it simmering on the stove.
  2. Slice the onion, chop the green chillies.
  3. Heat the oil in a kadai, and add the spices and curry leaves
  4. Add onion slices and green chillies sauté till onion is light brown, add ginger-garlic paste and tomato, sauté for 2 minutes till tomato turns soft.
  5. Add 3 cups of hot water, and add salt and turmeric. When the water boils add the semolina stirring vigorously, to avoid lumps being formed. If the semolina is not cooked ladle some of the reserved hot water on to the mixture, taking care to add very small quantities at a time, otherwise the whole mixture will turn soggy. Pour the juice of the lime over the uppumav and mix well. Cover with a lid and keep it on low heat.
  6. Heat the ghee in a small pan, add the split cashew nuts till light brown
  7. Stir after a few minutes and sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and cashew nuts for garnish.

My mother says: The amount of water used is dependent on the kind of semolina you use. The fine variety requires only 3 cups water and the thicker varieties need more water as described in this uppumav recipe.
Happy cooking with Masala Uppumav


Hope you enjoyed this recipe. Click to read Sabita’s heartwarming tribute and her Potato Dill Fry Recipe. Share a few lines about your favourite family recipe in the comment form below. The joy of documenting tribute recipes is an experience in itself. It connects generations.


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