Making Instant Upma? 6 Ways To Improve Its Flavour

Instant upma can be one of the quickest breakfasts for busy days; it’s healthier than most packaged foods and is takes less than 10 minutes to make. However, a bowl of instant upma may not taste as good as the homemade upma you made from scratch, with all the sweet and savoury notes in check. Remember once the instant upma is prepped you can easily elevate its flavour.

You can add the classic ingredients that you want in upma, be it curry leaves, some additional salt and masala and even some podi. You can even add your own choice of proteins and veggies to instant upma alongside some aromatics. Here are some easy ways you can elevate instant upma at home.

Enhance the Base Flavour

To elevate the taste of instant upma, start by enhancing its base flavour. Spices and seasonings are your best friends here. Adding mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and asafoetida can significantly boost the flavour profile. Heat a small amount of ghee or oil, add these spices until they crackle, and then pour this aromatic mixture over the cooked upma. Fresh ginger and green chillies also add a punch; finely chop and sauté them in a bit of oil before mixing them into the upma.

Add Fresh Vegetables

Incorporating fresh vegetables not only boosts the nutritional value but also adds flavour and texture to your instant upma. Common choices include finely chopped onions, tomatoes, peas, carrots, and beans. These vegetables bring vibrant colours and a fresh taste. Leafy greens like spinach or kale can be added towards the end of cooking to wilt them slightly, retaining their nutritional benefits.

Incorporate Proteins

Adding a protein source to your upma makes it a more balanced and satisfying meal. Nuts and seeds like cashews, peanuts, and sesame seeds provide a delightful crunch and are traditional additions. Dry roast or fry them before incorporating them into the upma. Lentils and legumes, such as cooked lentils or canned chickpeas, can also enhance the protein content. For a more substantial addition, consider small cubes of tofu or paneer, lightly fried before mixing into the upma.

Use Aromatic Herbs

Fresh herbs can transform the flavour profile of your instant upma. Coriander leaves (cilantro) are a classic choice, adding a refreshing note when sprinkled on top. Curry leaves, a staple in South Indian cooking, imparts a distinct aroma when sautéed in oil before adding to the dish. For a unique twist, try adding a small amount of fresh mint.

Experiment with Liquids

The type of liquid used to cook the upma can significantly influence its flavour and texture. Instead of plain water, try using vegetable or chicken broth to add depth of flavour. For a richer and creamier texture, consider using part water and part coconut milk, which also adds a subtle sweetness.

Include Tangy and Sweet Elements

Balancing flavours with a hint of sweetness and tanginess can make the dish more complex and enjoyable. A squeeze of lemon or lime juice just before serving can brighten up the flavours. Dried fruits like raisins or dried cranberries add a pleasant sweetness; lightly fry them in ghee before adding. Fresh tomatoes can also contribute both tang and sweetness, enhancing the overall flavour profile of the upma.