Idli Upma

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A South Indian favourite, Idli Upma is a delightful way to use leftover idlis. Quick to make and bursting with flavours, this dish is perfect for breakfast or a snack.

Idli Upma is a famous South Indian dish that adds a twist to traditional idlis. This recipe transforms leftover idlis into a flavourful breakfast or snack option. You’ll be surprised at how quickly and easily you can prepare this dish.  

About the recipe

Idli Upma is a traditional South Indian dish made from crumbled idlis sautéed with onions, tomatoes, and spices. Originating from Tamil Nadu, it offers a unique way to enjoy leftover idlis, infusing them with a burst of flavours. It celebrates textures, from the softness of idlis to the onion crunch. You can serve this any time, whether as a hearty breakfast or a satisfying snack. Try to upgrade by adding vegetables like carrots or peas for extra nutrition or garnishing with grated coconut for added flavour, which is best when served hot.

Why you will love this recipe

Idli Upma offers a delightful take on traditional idlis, infusing them with a medley of spices and flavours. Its simplicity belies its deliciousness, making it a quick and satisfying breakfast or snack time option. The dish’s versatility allows for endless customization, whether you prefer it spicy or mild, with additional vegetables or as is. With its comforting warmth and rich aroma, Idli Upma will become a fulfilling dish that will become a favourite in your kitchen.

Idli Upma

Idli Upma

Cooking Tips

  1. For the best results, ensure your idlis are slightly dry before crushing them for Upma.
  2. Adjust the spice level according to your preference, adding more green chillies for extra heat or reducing them for a milder flavour.
  3. Experiment with different vegetables to add colour and nutrition to the dish, or top it with a dollop of ghee for added richness.

Cultural Context

Idli Upma originates from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where it’s a popular breakfast or snack option. It reflects the region’s rich culinary heritage, showcasing the ingenuity of using leftovers to create delicious and satisfying meals.

Serving and Storing Suggestions

Idli Upma serves 2-3 people and takes about 15 minutes to prepare. Enjoy it hot, or pair it with coconut chutney or sambar for an authentic South Indian experience. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Other Similar Recipes

  • Masala Dosa: A crispy South Indian crepe filled with a spicy potato filling.
  • Poha: Flattened rice cooked with onions, peas, and spices. It is famous across India for being used for breakfast or snacks.

Nutrient Benefits

Idli Upma is rich in carbohydrates from idlis, providing daily energy. Onions and tomatoes add vitamins and antioxidants, while spices like turmeric offer anti-inflammatory properties.

Idli Upma
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Idli Upma

A South Indian favourite, Idli Upma is a delightful way to use leftover idlis. Quick to make and bursting with flavours, this dish is perfect for breakfast or a snack.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Indian


  • 1 cup Idlies (crumbled)
  • 1/2 Onion (chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp Bengal Gram Dal
  • 1/2 Tomato (chopped)
  • 1 small Green Chilli (finely sliced)
  • 2 to 3 Curry Leaves
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger (grated)
  • Coriander Leaves (few, chopped)
  • Salt (as per taste)
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2 tsp Oil: 2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder (a small pinch)
  • Asafoetida Powder (a small pinch)


  • Heat oil in a pan over medium flame.
  • Fry the mustard seeds till they start to splutter.
  • Add asafoetida powder, Bengal gram dal, turmeric powder, and onions. Stir-fry till the onions turn light brown.
  • Add ginger, tomatoes, green chilli, and curry leaves. Mix well.
  • Add the crumbled idlis and salt. Stir until all ingredients are well combined.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I prevent my Idli Upma from becoming too dry?

To prevent dryness, ensure your idlies are slightly moist before crumbling them. You can also add a splash of water or sprinkle some coconut milk while sautéing to maintain moisture.

Can I customize this recipe with additional vegetables?

Absolutely! Add vegetables like carrots, peas, or bell peppers to enhance the flavour and nutritional value of your idli upma. Sauté them along with the onions and tomatoes before adding the crumbled idlis.

Can I make Idli Upma with fresh idlis instead of leftovers?

Yes, you can use fresh idlis to make Idli Upma. Allow the idlis to cool slightly before crumbing them for the recipe. Fresh idlis will also absorb the flavours of the spices and vegetables, creating a delicious dish.

1 comment

Avatar of sunkan
sunkan July 1, 2010 - 4:39 am

i make stir fry idli just like how you make noodles and my children just vanish all in a jiffy…


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