Idli upma makes an ideal breakfast considering that it is made from leftovers which cuts down prep time for busy mornings and it is a light yet wholesome breakfast giving your day just the boost it requires. Idli upma also makes a great evening snack with coffee. Watching the rain with a bowl of this delicious snack was just what I needed this week.

Idli Upma, Spruce up leftovers and give them all new look and taste!

Every parent and every house has its secrets. Secret ways to feed the kids their “favorite” (note the sarcasm) veggies, transform leftovers so the food does not get trashed and so on and so forth. I wonder if they are handed a manual or something of sorts at the hospital when they bring home a child. That’s something to think about because I have not come across anybody who does not love a leftover-makeover dish despite knowing the fact that some are created from a dish they almost hate to eat!

 Idli upma is one such recipe from my mom’s repertoire. Idli or steamed rice cakes, as most of you know is not one of my favorite foods (believe me; I am putting this across in a very subtle way). The story goes like this: I was probably in kindergarten (which begins at the age of 3 in India) when we used to live in a home with all my uncles and aunts (called a joint family system). Since school started very early for me, much earlier than the day even started for the rest of the family my mom decided to feed me idli from a nearby cafeteria every morning. Since I gobbled it up, my mom continued this every day until we moved out of that place.

Idli Upma, Spruce up leftovers and give them all new look and taste!

That was it! It seems like my brain refused to accept that taste any more after we moved away. Except for this story mom tells me about how I loved idli, and memories of being called idli (that was my nickname since I had chubby cheeks resembling an idli) by my uncles, all my brain remembers is to say “No way!” when it spots the white spongy looking thing at the breakfast table.

Well, now that the mystery behind my idli hate story has been resolved, (I know I feel like I have told you about it many times too like in this post here and here again!) we can finally move on 😀 Never talk about it and talk only about the tasty makeovers you can give the humble idli!

Idli Upma, Spruce up leftovers and give them all new look and taste!

Like this idli upma. Best, when made from cold idlis (just like good fried rice is made from cold rice), idli upma tastes like the gourmet, master-chef version of porridge.  A bucket-list dish for anybody who loves Indian food, this Vegan Indian breakfast recipe is definitely a winner!

Idli Upma, Spruce up leftovers and give them all new look and taste!

PS: Here are a couple of other ways to dress up idli:

Cocktail Idli Kebabs

Masala Idli

Here is the recipe for:

Idli Upma


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 18 minutes

Serves: 2



  • 8-10 medium sized idlis
  • 3-4 Curry leaves
  • 2-3 Green chillies, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Urad dal
  • 1/4 cup diced Onion
  • 1/4 cupdiced Tomato
  • Cilantro to garnish
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • Salt to season


  1. Crumble the idlis using your hands. Use idlis from the previous day or idlis that have at least been cold for 3-5 hours for the best texture.
  2. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. Once they begin to crackle, add the urad dal.
  3. Sauté until they turn a light brown and then, add the chopped chilies and curry leaves.
  4. Now add the chopped onions. Once they turn translucent, add the tomatoes and cook for a minute or two.
  5. Now, add turmeric, salt and mix well. Cook for another minute before you add the crumbled idlis.
  6. Reduce the heat to a low and mix well.
  7. Cover and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes or until the upma gets heated through and through.
  8. Turn off the heat. Add a few drops of lemon juice and garnish with cilantro. Serve hot.

My Take:

You can add some grated carrots and chopped spinach to make it more nutritious

Top it off with some shredded cheese and microwave it for 30 seconds to melt the cheese before you serve.

Yummily Yours’


Bookmark the permalink.

One Comment

  1. This is a nice way to make use of leftover food items .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *