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As the seasons begin to change and the leaves fall from the trees, I am no longer happy with simple sandwiches or cold cereals at breakfast-time.  Instead, I find myself craving warm and satisfying meals. I want comfort food.
Upma is a simple, yet comforting dish which has its origins in South India. It’s incredibly versatile, unpretentious and definitely “hits the spot” on these crisp, autumn mornings. There are many recipes for upma, but almost all of them include a few spices, vegetables and some sort of grain.

Traditionally it is prepared with semolina (known as sooji or rava in India), though it can be made with couscous, vermicelli noodles, Cream of Wheat and even bread.  I love to make my upma with King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls. The subtle sweetness of the bread complements the warm, Indian spices nicely.

Preparing upma takes very little time, and the dish can be completed in less than ten minutes!  It is also a very forgiving recipe, allowing you to be as creative as you wish. Sometimes I like to add ground sausage, carrots or even scrambled eggs to my upma. The possibilities are endless!

Masala Bread Upma Recipe

Serves 2-4

  • 6 King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet, Honey Wheat or Savory Butter Dinner Rolls—diced
  • 2 tbsp. Oil or Ghee
  • ½ tsp. Whole Black Mustard Seeds
  • ½ tsp. Whole Cumin Seed
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala
  • ¼ tsp. Turmeric Powder
  • Red Chili Powder—to taste
  • 1 or 2 Green Chilies—slit (seeds/membrane removed, if desired)
  • 1 medium Red Onion—chopped finely
  • 1 medium Potato—(boiled, baked or microwaved), diced
  • 1 or 2 Roma Tomatoes—roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • Fresh Cilantro Leaves—small handful, chopped
  • Salt—to taste
  • Black Pepper—to taste

  • Prepare all your ingredients, and have them readily available.
  • Add 2 tbsp. oil or ghee to a medium-sized pan or wok.  Add the black mustard seeds and cumin seeds.  Turn heat to medium-high and cook until the seeds begin to pop or splutter.
  • Once the seeds begin to pop and the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and green chilies.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes or until the onions become translucent. 
  • Add garam masala, turmeric powder and chili powder.  Stir well and cook for about a minute before adding in the cooked, diced potatoes. 
  • Cook the potatoes for a couple minutes or until they begin to turn light-golden brown. 
  • Add 1 tsp. lemon juice and the chopped roma tomato. Stir everything to combine. Cook this masala mixture for a couple minutes, until you notice the tomato begins to turn soft. 
  • Add the diced bread and quickly stir everything around, ensuring each piece of bread is coated with the masala mixture.
  • Stirring constantly, cook the upma until the bread becomes crispy and lightly toasted. This may take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes. 
  • Add the chopped cilantro leaves and stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve with eggs, lime wedges and extra cilantro.  Enjoy!  
  View the official recipe here.