Tikhat Sheera: Maharashtra’s Breakfast Response To Upma
Image Credit: Tikhat Sheera for breakfast

As long as one gets their daily dose of taste and nutrition in the morning, the day goes well. The breakfast expectation in Maharashtrian households is a variety of pohas laid on the table - including Kande Pohe, Dadpe Pohe, and more. Then, there are the usuals like Misal and Vada Pav that remain classic. However there’s a sheera that features on the menu too.

For the unversed, sheera is usually a sweet pudding that is made with sooji, ghee, nuts, and sugar. While the dessert section in many North and South Indian homes is filled with this sheera, Maharashtra gives a savoury twist to the dish. The Tikhat Sheera is a classic breakfast item in the region and is a salty take on the regular sweet sheera. Here, ‘tikhat’ means ‘spicy’ and ‘sheera’ means ‘halwa’. So, this dish can be described as a spicy halwa.

This savoury breakfast dish from Maharashtra is made with dry roasted semolina and a host of vegetables. Since the main ingredient of the dish is rava or semolina, it is often associated with the South Indian upma. However, Tikhat Sheera holds its uniqueness with its distinct texture and taste. While upma, a breakfast staple in the southern parts of the country, has a smooth and pasty texture, the Maharashtrian counterpart is more like a dry crumble. 

This also lends an association between the Tikhat Sheera and poha, another popular breakfast item in the region. Moreover, vegetables like onions, green chillies, and coriander leaves are added to the Tikhat Sheera, along with a garnish of roasted peanuts which reminds one of kande pohe (onion poha) from Maharashtra. This interesting variation of a sweet dish that is a cross between an upma and a poha, brings a delightful breakfast treat to the table.

To make Tikhat sheera at home, you can begin by dry roasting semolina. Next, the cumin and mustard seeds are added to a pan of oil till they splutter. Then, green chillies, turmeric powder and red chilli powder are added for colour and taste. Sprinkle some salt and add some water. Throw in finely sliced onions too. Next, add the roasted semolina and cover the lid for a few minutes to let it cook properly. Once it turns dry and crumbly, mix it well. Place on a serving plate and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and roasted peanuts.