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Quick fix recipe: How to make Idli Upma

May 02, 2014 13:49 IST

Image: Idli Upma
Photographs: Rediff Archives Divya Nair

Divya Nair got married earlier this year (read her columns here) and has been coping with the challenges of being a new wife and daughter-in-law and a working professional.

Among the life hacks she's mastered is the ability to toss up lip-smacking meals in record time.

(Do try out her Beetroot rice and Kaara kuzhi paniyaaram recipes)

Today, she tells you how best to recycle those leftover idlis.

The hot summers remind me of the vacations I enjoyed as a teen with my cousins in Coimbatore.

Since all of us would arrive at around the same time -- from Mumbai, Chennai, Tiruppur and other parts of Southern India -- to Coimbatore, the biggest challenge for the women of the house would be to arrange our breakfast in record time.

Given the number of people in the house, dosas and puris were out of question during the weekdays. 

Much to our dislike, idlis and upmas were a staple for breakfast because they could be produced in bulk and required less cooking time.

Needless to say, the only thing we children would look forward to would be the variants of chutneys and curries served alongside.

The heartbreaking moment for our mothers would be to figure out the number of idlis that were leftover from breakfast.

Sometimes they'd try games like 'Let's see, who'll have the maximum idlis today' and be disappointed by the outcome when no one volunteered.

When all coaxing failed, they'd crib and complain how we kids wasted food.

Eventually, one of my aunts discovered a way around these leftover idlis.

Called Idli Upma, this recipe, I am told has been tried and tested for generations and was also featured in the Tamil movie Surya Vamsam starring Sarath Kumar and Devayani.

Here's the recipe for Idli Upma:


  • 2 cups mashed idli
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomato
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped coriander
  • 3-4 green chillies finely chopped
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric power
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1 tsp chana dal
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste


  • In a kadhai, heat some oil. Add urad dal and chana dal and keep tossing so that it doesn't burn.
  • When urad dal begins to change colour, add mustard seeds.
  • When the seeds begin to pop, add curry leaves, ginger, onion and green chillies and sauté them on a medium flame.
  • Add turmeric and salt.
  • Add tomatoes and saute well.
  • When the skin of tomatoes begin to peel off, add the mashed idlis and mix well on a low flame.
  • Garnish with coriander and coconut and serve hot.

Tip: For those who like veggies, you may throw in some grated carrots, finely chopped beans and green peas after adding the onions. Allow them to cook well before adding tomatoes.

Also read:

Quick fix reader recipe: Pachai Mochai Vadai

Quick fix recipe: Kaara Kuzhi Paniyaaram

Quick fix recipe: Beetroot rice

Reader invite: Dear reader, do you have an interesting quick-fix breakfast/lunch recipes that you'd like to share with us?

Email us your recipes along with a photograph if possible to (Subject line: Quick fix recipes) and we'll publish the best ones right here!