Green Peas and Cilantro Upma. Green Pea Cream of Wheat Pilaf

Upma is a classic South Indian savory dish made with cream of wheat. It’s a fluffy pilaf that is minimally spiced and made with veggies of your choice. In this recipe I made upma with green peas and cilantro for a deliciously light and flavorful lunch option.

About the recipe

Upma takes many forms in South Indian homes as it is an easy dish to prepare when one is in a rush to put something on the table fast. It’s a popular dish for its versatility as cream of wheat gets jazzed up with any combination of veggies and spices to create a filling one pot meal. Upma is fluffy and light, yet filling all at the same time.

In this variation I made upma after returning home from a trip. I had frozen peas, onions in my basket, and fresh cilantro – hence this green pea and cilantro upma. I kept the spices extremely minimal – just mustard seeds and asafetida powder, both these spices add a lovely mild toasty fragrance to this simple dish..

Green Pea and Cilantro Upma


2 cups cream of wheat – dry roast them on a pan until slightly fragrant and color changes to light brown – about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
1 large onion chopped
2 cups frozen peas
A bunch of fresh cilantro finely chopped
Curry leaves if you have – about 10 leaves
Juice of 1 small lemon
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp asafetida powder
Green chilis or dried red chiles (for heat)


In a large pan warm 1 tbsp oil. Add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Next add the green chilis or red chilies and onions. Cook the onions until fragrant and translucent – about 2-3 minutes. Add the asafetida powder and stir in.

Next add the peas, salt and sugar and cook for 2 minutes until the peas are slightly tender. Then add the roasted cream of wheat and stir into the peas. Add 1 cup water and the butter. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. This will make the cream of wheat fluffy. Check at the 2 minute mark to see if it needs more water so the upma is not too dry. Add another cup of water and continue to steam the upma.

After 5 minutes upma is ready. Taste and adjust for salt. Add the fresh lemon juice and fresh cilantro and stir in.

Serve upma warm with plain yogurt.

10 thoughts on “Green Peas and Cilantro Upma. Green Pea Cream of Wheat Pilaf”

  1. Our Favorite One Pot Meal when we are super hungry and do not have Time to cook a Whole Meal. I like to add Roasted Peanuts ( Protein factor) to the Uppuma. i like to add Tomato Chutney as an accompaniment. You can serve with Coriander Chutney too .
    My mom adds Cashews too .

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