Bread upma is a delicious variation of the classic, old-fashioned rava upma. Cubed bread pieces are sauteed with a savory onion-tomato spiced masala, for a quick and easy breakfast that is hearty and filling.
If you are on the lookout for breakfast ideas that make use of leftover bread, then you must try this easy South Indian style bread upma recipe. It is a delicious variation from the regular rava upma also known as ‘uppit, uppittu, uppeet to name a few.
While French toast is a great option to use up that stale bread, I’m sure many Indians prefer savory dishes in the morning.
So for those folks who prefer a savory breakfast, this bread uppit will not disappoint.
Table of Contents
What is bread upma?
Bread upma is a yummy twist to the old-fashioned upma that is primarily made using rava (semolina). Upma can also be made with broken wheat (dalia), vermicelli, poha, oats, etc.
The basic tempering is the same in both recipes and hence it called bread upma.
There are three major differences;
- Rava is swapped by bread pieces.
- We don’t need as much water to cook this version of upma.
- There’s also a difference in texture in both upma’s.
I hope to share the classic rava upma recipe sometime in the near future. It’s one of our favorite things to have for breakfast, it is wholesome and keeps one full for a long time.
Why you will enjoy this recipe?
✔ It is a quick recipe that can be prepared within 30 minutes
✔ It makes for a filling breakfast or as an evening snack along with some tea
✔ One of the easiest recipes to make good use of leftover bread
✔ Vegan (Just be sure to use vegan bread)
✔ Can also be made gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free bread and gluten-free hing (asafoetida).
This recipe of bread upma calls for basic pantry staples such as;
Bread: I’ve used a day-old ladi pav and cut it into small cubes. If the presentation of the upma isnt a concern, then you can just tear the bread pieces roughly using your hands.
Lentils and nuts: Split urad dal, split chana dal, raw peanuts, and cashew nuts.
Curry leaves: Tempering of curry leaves always adds a tremendous amount of flavor to any dish.
Aromatics: Finely diced onions, ginger, and garlic. Garlic is optional, but I love to add it.
Hing (asafoeitda): Enhances the flavor of the upma and also aids in digestion.
Tomatoes: Forms the base of the masala along with the onions.
Spices: Spices used here are regular Indian spices such as mustard seeds, Kashmiri red chili powder (can substitute with paprika), ground turmeric, and salt. Thats’ about it!
Sugar: Traditionally, a small quantity of sugar is added to upma. It helps balance out the flavors. You can skip it if you wish to.
Water: You will need a small quantity of water for the masala.
Lemon juice: Added towards the end, it adds some brightness to the dish.
Coriander leaves: A handful of finely chopped coriander leaves adds a great deal of freshness to this upma.
Cooking fat: I’ve used sunflower oil. You can use your preferred oil of choice.
Optional ingredients (not in the picture below): Pomegranate and nylon sev. Neither of these ingredients is traditionally used, but I love to add it for the color pop along with the lovely texture they provide to this upma.
How to make bread upma at home – Step by step process
Step 1: Tempering
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy-bottomed kadai over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, let it splutter. (Photos 1 and 2)
Once it splutters, add 1 teaspoon chana dal, 1 teaspoon urad dal, 2 tablespoons raw peanuts, and 1 tablespoon cashew nut halves. Saute over medium-low heat, until the lentils and nuts turn a light golden color. (Photos 3 and 4)
Add a sprig of curry leaves, 2-3 slit green chilies, 1 teaspoon minced ginger, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon hing. (Photos 5 to 7)
Saute until the ginger garlic is fragrant. (Photo 8)
Step 2: Saute onion, tomatoes, and spices
Add 1 cup of finely chopped onions, saute until onions turn translucent. (Photos 9 and 10)
Add 3/4 cup diced tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cook until it turns mushy. (Photos 11 to 13)
Add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Mix well and saute for another 30 seconds. (Photos 14 to 16)
Add 1/3 cup water (refer notes in the recipe card below), mix well and bring to a boil. (Photos 17 and 18)
Step 3: Add bread cubes and mix well
Add 5 cups of cubed bread pieces. (Photo 19)
Toss until the bread cubes are well coated with the masala. Cover the kadai and simmer on low heat for 2-3 minutes. (Photos 20 to 22)
If it looks too dry, sprinkle some water, and mix gently.
Step 4: Add coriander leaves and lemon juice
Switch off the heat and add 1/4 cup of chopped coriander leaves and 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice, mix gently. Serve hot! (Photos 23 to 25)
Bread: You can use any type of bread from sandwich bread (white, brown, multigrain), pav (dinner rolls) to fancy artisan bread for this recipe. If using fresh bread, toast them before using as fresh bread tends to be soft and more delicate as compared to stale bread which has lost its moisture. Adding fresh bread cubes to the masala may cause it to disintegrate and turn mushy. So it’s best to toast it before using it.
Consistency of onion-tomato masala: The masala base should not be dry, or else the bread won’t be able to absorb all those yummy flavors.
Texture: There’s a lot of components for texture in this recipe such as the lentils, nuts, pomegranate, and nylon sev. They add an interesting texture to the otherwise soft bread. Skip them only if you are allergic to either of the ingredients, especially peanuts. Try and include pomegranate arils for crunch and texture instead of nuts.
Don’t forget that dash of lemon juice: Lemon juice added towards the end elevates the flavor of this upma.
Without onion-garlic: You can skip the onion and garlic for a Jain version.
Vegetables: You can also saute some finely diced carrots, green beans, bell peppers, diced boiled potatoes, cauliflower, green peas to make it wholesome and nutritious. Boiled sweet corn, mushrooms, etc would also be delicious in this upma.
Bread upma with egg: You can add 2 eggs after sauteing the onion, tomatoes, and spices. Scramble the eggs, add the bread pieces and toss well. Sprinkle some water, if it looks too dry.
With curd (yogurt): You can swap the tomatoes with 1/2 cup of curd. Lower the heat and add curd, mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes over low heat. Then the spices, salt, and sugar, mix well and cook for 30 seconds. Finally, add the bread pieces, and toss well.
Sweet chili sauce: Sometimes, I add about 1 tablespoon of sweet chili sauce or hot and sweet ketchup to the onion-tomato mixture. It adds a lovely zingy flavor. Feel free to experiment with your favorite sauces to give it a little twist.
Heat: You can increase the heat by adding red chili powder/cayenne pepper and more green chilies.
Pav bhaji masala: For another delicious twist, add pav bhaji masala to make street-style masala pav upma. Use butter instead of oil. Temper cumin seeds, minced ginger, garlic, and green chillies. Saute diced onions and tomatoes, followed by some pav bhaji masala to taste along with spices like red chili powder and turmeric powder. Mix well, add some water. Once it starts bubbling, add the bread cubes and mix well. Garnish with cilantro and serve with a dash of lemon juice.
Cheese: For a cheesy twist, throw in some shredded cheese, close the lid and let the cheese melt. Enjoy cheesy bread upma. This particularly goes down well with the kids 😀
You may also enjoy these bread recipes
★ If you try this masala bread upma recipe, I would love to hear from you! I’d appreciate it if you could rate and leave a review below in the comments. Your reviews help others know the recipe better too. Feel free to share your feedback and suggestions via the contact form. Thanks so much 🙂
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon chana dal
- 1 teaspoon urad dal
- 2 tablespoons raw peanuts
- 1 tablespoon cashew nut halves or roughly chopped
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2-3 green chillies
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon hing
- 2 large tomatoes, finey diced, approx 3/4 cup
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup water, may need to add more if the bread is hard
- 5 cups cubed bread pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed kadai over medium heat, add mustard seeds, let it splutter.
- Once it splutters, add chana dal, urad dal, raw peanuts, and cashew nuts. Saute over medium-low heat, until the lentils and nuts turn a light golden color.
- Add curry leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic, and hing. Saute until the ginger-garlic is fragrant.
- Add finely chopped onions, saute until onions turn translucent.
- Add diced tomatoes, salt, cook until it turns mushy.
- Add turmeric, Kashmiri chili powder, and sugar. Mix well and saute for another 30 seconds.
- Add water, mix well and bring to a boil.
- Add the bread cubes.
- Toss until the bread cubes are well coated with the masala. Cover the kadai and simmer on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- If it looks too dry, sprinkle some water, and mix gently.
- Switch off the heat and add coriander leaves and 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice, mix gently. Serve hot!