Bread upma! Whip up this simplest delicious spicy & super flavorful breakfast that needs only good old pantry staples. Bread upma is nothing but bread tossed in a spicy tempering of spices, herbs, onions and tomatoes. Each bite of bread soaks up the flavors in the tempering masala & transforms into a mouth-watering addictive dish – bread upma. This easy 15 minutes recipe will help you make an amazing breakfast or snack on the go.
Also known as bread poha, this is one of the several street and restaurant foods quite popular in India. In South India, it is pretty much served even in college canteens and tiffin centers. People love it for its taste, soft tender bread chunks, with bursting flavors literally melt in your mouth.
The aroma from ginger, green chillies and curry leaves give it a mesmerizing uplift, makes it a best snack and breakfast for bread lovers. But what is it anyway?
About Bread upma
Bread upma is a South Indian breakfast made with bread, onions, tomatoes, spices, nuts and herbs. Since the tempering is made much the same way as a traditional upma, it is called bread upma. While the traditional upma uses semolina, this dish uses bread.
It tastes so good that you don’t need any sides. If you are a tea drinker then a good cup of masala chai is all you need! Yes bread upma with masala chai is the best combo! We love it for our evening snack.
Well, the dish can be made with any kind of bread, but you get the best results with white bread, pav or French baguette. If you want to use brown or sprouted flour bread like the way I used be sure to toast the bread.
Toasting the bread not only removes the raw flavor from the bread but also imparts a nutty flavor and helps the bread bites retain their shape in the bread upma.
So the next time you find yourself with a few slices of bread to be used up, give this recipe a try. I am sure you will return to it time and again.
My recipe is simple and can be made even by beginners. This makes for a great on the go breakfast or snack that is ready under 15 minutes. I have used some cashews to add nutrition to the bread upma.
The onion and tomatoes form the base for this bread upma so do not skip them. You can also throw in some fine chopped mixed veggies like carrots, peas, bell peppers, green beans and sweet corn. Boiled and cubed potatoes also go well. Refer notes for more details.
On occasions I also make this for a quick dinner. I scramble 2 eggs into the masala and this perks up the nutrition value and flavor.
How to make bread upma (stepwise pics)
1. Toast 2 to 3 slices of bread until crisp either on the tawa or in a toaster. If you are making use of more than 2 slices, it is convenient to do it in a oven.
Do not skip this step if you are using brown bread or whole meal bread or sprouted flour breads. You can skip toasting if you are using pav, white bread or french baguette.
2. Cool completely and cut to cubes. Or simply tear them.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add 10 cashews or 2 tablespoons peanuts to the hot oil. On a medium heat, fry until golden and aromatic. Set these aside with bread.
4. Add ½ tsp mustard and ½ tsp split urad dal (optional). Saute until the dal turns lightly golden.
5. Then add 1 chopped green chili and 1 sprig curry leaves. Saute until the curry leaves turn crisp. Add a pinch of hing.
6. Add ¼ cup finely chopped onions (1 small onion).
7. Saute until they turn golden. Add ¾ tsp ginger paste or 1 teaspoon grated or chopped ginger.
8. Next saute just until you get the aroma of ginger. Do not over fry, ginger turns bitter.
9. Add ½ cup ripe tomatoes (1 medium), salt and 1/8 teaspoon turmeric. Your bread is already salted so add salt only a little. Saute until the tomatoes turn completely mushy.
10. Next put in ½ tsp red chili powder and ½ tsp sugar. Skip sugar if using white bread or pav.
Making bread upma
11. Saute for another 2 mins. Pour 3 to 4 tbsps water. Cook until the masala turns thick. Check the taste and adjust salt and spice if needed.
12. Add bread and cashews.
13. Mix everything well but gently till the masala coats the bread pieces well. Do not stir a lot, bread gets mushy. Add some coriander leaves.
Serve bread upma hot with some lemon juice sprinkled on top.
You can also check this similar recipe of Bread masala.
- Bread: Use any kind of bread you like. Regular white bread, whole meal bread, pav, French baguette or even the plain buns go well in this. You can also use sourdough or soda bread in this recipe.
- Nuts: I have used cashews to add some crunch and nutrition. You may also use some roasted peanuts.
- Tomatoes: You can also use tomato puree instead of chopped tomatoes. The quantity of tomatoes in the recipe is very important for a good flavor. So do not reduce them.
- Tempering ingredients: Curry leaves, mustard, ginger and green chilies are the key ingredients that impart the South Indian flavors in this bread upma. However if you do not have curry leaves you may skip them and add more coriander leaves for garnish.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 2 to 3 slices bread (any bread)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon urad dal (skip if you don’t have)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- ¾ teaspoon ginger paste or grated or fine chopped
- 1 green chili slit or chopped
- 8 to 10 cashew nuts split or 2 tbsps peanuts
- ¼ cup onions chopped finely (1 medium)
- ½ cup ripe tomatoes chopped finely (1 large) (adjust as needed)
- salt (use only as needed)
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste, less spicy variety)
- ½ teaspoon sugar (skip if using milk bread)
- 3 to 4 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoon coriander leaves chopped finely
- Lemon juice to serve (optional)
- Heat a pan and toast the bread until crisp on both the sides. Cool completely. Cut them to small cubes and set aside.
- Pour oil to the same pan and on a medium heat fry cashews or peanuts until golden, crunchy and aromatic. Set these aside with bread.
- Add mustard seeds and urad dal (optional). Saute till urad dal turns lightly golden.
- Next add green chilies and curry leaves. Saute until the leaves turn crisp.
- Sprinkle hing. Add onions and saute until they turn golden. Saute the ginger paste as well for 30 seconds.
- Next add tomatoes, salt and turmeric. Note that your bread is salted so add only as required, start with ¼ teaspoon. Saute until tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
- Then add chili powder and sugar. Saute for 1 to 2 mins until the raw smell goes off.
- Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons water and mix.
How to make bread upma
- Cook until the mixture turns thick. Taste test and adjust salt if required.
- Add bread cubes and cashews. Mix gently to coat the bread with the onion tomato masala.
- Sprinkle coriander leaves.
- Serve bread upma hot. Sprinkle some lemon juice.
- Bread: Use any bread of your choice. Whole grain, white bread or just any goes well.
- Do not alter the quantities of onions, tomatoes and bread in this recipe. Tomatoes provide some moisture and help to blend the spices well with the bread.
- Do not skip adding water after the tempering, this helps to blend the spices well with the bread.
- If you do not have curry leaves, you may skip them and add more coriander leaves.
- You may add some boiled potatoes or fine chopped carrots, bell peppers, peas and sweet corn to the tempering. Saute them well on a low heat until tender and then add the tomatoes.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
This bread upma recipe is from the Archives. First published in May 2017. Updated and republished in September 2021.