If a dish could be described as your favorite cozy sweater….this would be it. A recipe you keep forever, know by heart, and always give you that same comfy, homey feeling.
This dish is Bread Upma: a traditional Indian breakfast - warming, filling, and brimful of herbs and spices that transform the whole into something so much greater than its parts.
What is Bread Upma
Bread Upma is a humble dish with deep roots, a beloved breakfast, and snack food. It makes the most out of days-old bread and a few essential Indian spices. It’s a simple, vegan meal built on basic pantry and kitchen staples.
My mom always made this Upma with a few basic ingredients. Slightly stale bread cooked with sizzling mustard seeds, hing, turmeric, curry leaves, green chilies, and onions. The pinch of sugar, squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro at the end puts the delicious factor over the top! Looking for EASY, make-ahead breakfast or lunch ideas? Try this Bread Upma!
Like Poha, another iconic Indian breakfast and snack, each recipe can be as unique as the person making it. And each family often puts its own spin on the dish.
Bread Upma just like the Sooji Upma can be fortified with veggies like tomatoes, carrots, green peas, and onions.
Protein Power: Peanuts or cashews are another classic addition that gives a really awesome crunch and heaps of plant-based protein! They add nutrition that keeps you fuller longer and fueled up for the day.
It’s a great recipe for using up days-old bread and those odds and ends of produce in the fridge! This is a great way to curb food waste.
Indian Stuffing: A New Family Tradition!
Every year at Thanksgiving, I would eat the classic American stuffing and be reminded of this delicious Bread Upma. Finally, last year, inspiration hit, and I decided to serve my Bread Upma at Thanksgiving dinner as the stuffing.
My homemade Indian Inspired Stuffing accompanied a Whole Roasted Tandori Chicken and plenty of other festive sides. And you know what?? SUCCESS!! My boys who usually do not care for the traditional stuffing loved this spiced-up version and went back for seconds and thirds!
Bread Upma Stuffing
This Indian Inspired Stuffing is a super easy, vegetarian comfort food that can be made ahead. It’s perfect for soaking up gravies and providing that yummy bready side dish that’s an essential part of Thanksgiving dinner. And for those who like the side dishes more than the mains, this is a must for the holiday menu!!
How to make Bread Upma
- Cut the bread slices into 1-inch pieces and reserve (photo 1)
- Heat oil. Once the oil is shimmering hot add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Lower the heat and add hing, turmeric, curry leaves, and green chilies. Give a quick stir (photo 2)
- Add diced onion and salt (photo 3)
- Mix well and cook covered on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onions become soft and translucent (photo 4)
- Add cubed bread and sugar. Mix well. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water and cook covered on low heat for 5 minutes (photos 5 and 6 )
- Add lemon juice and garnish with cilantro (photos 7 and 8)
How to Serve Bread Upma
Bread Upma can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature. Here are a few ideas to enjoy it:
- Quick, Yummy, Filling Breakfast
- Packed into a Lunch Box
- Special Spicy Snack with the Afternoon Chai
- Cozy Movie Snack
- Welcome Addition to PotLucks and Dinner Parties
- Wonderful Side Dish for Curries, Salads, Soups, Roasted Meats, Soups, and More!
What Kind of Bread Should I Use?
Any kind of soft American White Bread that’s a few days old or just passed fresh is ideal. I prefer Arnold’s Country White Bread for Bread Upma. However, this recipe is all about using what you have. If you have a leftover loaf from the farmer’s market or half a loaf of sliced bread from the week--go for it. Just be mindful that you do not want to use anything too tough, or a crust that would be too hard to chew. In that case--trim the crust first.
What to Serve Bread Upma With (It’s also a Full Holiday Menu!)
- Instant Pot Whole Tandoori Chicken
- The Best Whole Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower
- Cranberry Apple Sauce
- Roasted Carrots with Herb Chutney
- Instant Pot Sweet Potato Casserole
- Ginger Tamarind Brussel Sprouts
- Kale Salad with Almonds
More Indian Breakfast Recipes You'll Love
- 8 slices hearty white bread see notes
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ⅛ teaspoon hing
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 20 curry leaves
- 2 green chilies slit lengthwise
- 1 laqrge yellow onion finely diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ lemon juiced
- ½ cup cilantro finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar optional
- Cut the bread slices into 1-inch pieces and reserve.
- In a large wok or pan heat oil. Once the oil is shimmering hot add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Lower the heat and add hing, turmeric, curry leaves, and green chilies. Give a quick stir.
- Add diced onion and salt. Mix well and cook covered on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onions become soft and translucent.
- Add cubed bread and sugar. Mix well. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water and cook covered on low heat for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and garnish with cilantro.
- Bread Upma can be fortified with veggies like tomatoes, carrots, and green peas. You can add any of these veggies once the onions are sauteed and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the bread pieces.
- Peanuts or cashews are another classic addition that gives a really awesome crunch and heaps of plant-based protein! Add them along with curry leaves and green chilies.