Quinoa upma recipe – Healthy, delicious & quick to make one pot Indian quinoa recipe. Quinoa is a seed that is not only gluten-free but is also a high protein super food. Though a seed, quinoa can be very much cooked up to delicious & healthy Indian dishes like upma, pulao or kheer.
Quinoa has a high nutrition profile hence is consumed widely in the recent years. It is a good source of iron, magnesium, fiber, Vitamin B2 and many essential nutrients. Quinoa is higher in antioxidants than any other gluten free grain.
It is cooked like any other grain and served with side dishes or used in salads.
Quinoa does not take up much time to cook so making any dish with it is quick. Sometimes I make mix vegetable quinoa upma for a morning breakfast or dinner. We usually serve it with idli podi, a bowl of plain yogurt or curd & pickle.
Tips to make quinoa upma
- Ratio: Quinoa to water ratio is the key for a fluffy quinoa upma. Most often I cook quinoa in an open pot with 1 part of quinoa and 2 parts of water. This gives me good results without making it mushy.
- Rinsing: If using regular kind of quinoa rinse-rub-rinse very well to get rid of the saponins. If using pre-rinsed then you can skip the rinsing part and use them directly. Both need the same amount of water.
- Most often I use carrots, peas & beans to make this. However you can skip the veggies and just make it plain with the tempering ingredients.
- Feel free to spice up your quinoa upma with some spice powder. Sometimes I add ¾ teaspoon of vangi bath powder or sambar powder to this quinoa upma. It turns out very delicious with the flavors of Khara bath.
- I have not used tomato in this. But sometimes I do use a tiny deseeded tomato. I saute it very well until the raw smell of the tomato goes away. Then add the veggies.
You can also make this quinoa upma in an instant pot. Check the recipe notes for details. You can also check this post on instant pot quinoa.
Quinoa upma recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water for pot (1¼ cup for Instant pot)
- ½ teaspoon ginger chopped finely
- ¾ cup mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, beans)
- 1 small onion optional
- 1 to 2 green chili chopped or slit
- 1/3 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
- 1 tablespoon oil or ghee
- ¼ teaspoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon urad dal (optional)
- 1 teaspoon channa dal (optional)
- 1 pinch hing or asafoetida (optional)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 12 cashews split or broken
How to make the recipe
- Rinse quinoa very well in a pot. Or add it to a strainer and rinse under running water rubbing well.
- Drain water completely & set aside.
- Rinse and chop the ginger, carrots, beans and onion (optional).
Making quinoa upma
- Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter, add dals, cashews and fry until golden.
- Then add curry leaves, green chilies and onions.
- Fry for 2 minutes and then add the mixed veggies & ginger.
- Mix and fry for a minute. Transfer the drained quinoa.
- Pour water and add salt. Mix and taste the water. If needed add more salt.
- Cook on a medium flame until quinoa turns tender and absorbs all the water.
- If there is more water left, cook for longer and evaporate. When quinoa is completely cooked they look transparent.
- Serve quinoa upma with podi, pickle, lemon wedges or curd.
Instant pot quinoa upma
- Press saute button and pour oil to the inner pot of the Instant pot.
- When the oil turns slightly hot, add mustard, chana dal, urad dal & cashews.
- Fry them until slightly golden. Then add in curry leaves, onions and green chili.
- Saute the onions until transparent. Then add in ginger, veggies, turmeric & drained quinoa.
- Next saute everything for about 1 to 2 mins. Then pour water and add salt.
- Press CANCEL button and Deglaze the pot by scrubbing the bottom with a spatula to release any bits of food stuck.
- Taste the water and add more salt if needed.
- Secure the lid of the instant pot. Position the steam release handle to sealing.
- Press PRESSURE COOK button & Set the timer to 1 minute.
- It takes time for the pot to build up pressure and cook. Once the pressure builds up, it cooks for a minute.
- When it is done cooking the ip beeps and goes to keep warm. Then press cancel and wait for the pressure to release manually.
- When the pin drops, open the lid and fluff up the quinoa upma.
- Sprinkle some lemon juice and serve hot.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
If you are a beginner or new to Indian cooking, I highly suggest you to check the supporting step by step photos for best results. Step by step photos with description available below after the recipe card.
1. Rinse quinoa very well a few times in a pot. You can also add them to a fine mesh colander and rinse under running water.
I usually pour water to the pot. Rub them well with my hands and drain the water. I repeat this a few times. This gets rid of the saponins if any.
Drain the water completely.
How to make quinoa upma
2. Add oil to a hot pan. Add mustard, chana dal, urad dal & cashews. We usually add cumin as well to make upma. You can skip it along with chana dal and urad dal as well.
Fry them until the cashews & dal turns golden.
3. Add all the chopped veggies, curry leaves, ginger and chili. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes until the onions turn transparent.
You can also fry the curry leaves, onions and chilies first until the onions turn transparent. Then add the rest of the veggies.
4. Pour water and add salt. Check salt by tasting water.
5. Then add drained quinoa.
6. Cook on a medium flame till the quinoa is cooked completely. Keep stirring to a few times. They look transparent when cooked well. If there is extra water left in the pan, evaporate by cooking for a little longer.
Serve quinoa upma with plain yogurt or pickle. Squeeze in some lemon juice before serving.
Serve quinoa upma with podi, pickle or curd. It goes good even in lunch box or as a breakfast or quick dinner.