Mandakki Upma

I’m a sucker for quick-fix breakfast dishes. Like this one. Much as I love our idlis, dosas, adais and other traditional power breakfast dishes, I also like to explore breakfast/tiffin options from other ethnic cultures, and this is one such dish that I absolutely love. If you haven’t heard of Mandakki upma earlier, you will not guess the main ingredient in it. Mandakki is ‘puffed rice’. Yes, a breakfast dish made with puffed rice! Sounds novel? For the people of North Karnataka though, this is staple diet…something that they churn from their cook-pot just as often as we make our idlis and dosas. What’s more, the recipe is very adaptable too. If you don’t have the veggies on hand, just give it a simple tadka with hing, mustard seeds, jeera, green chillies, curry leaves; add coriander and a dash of lime juice after you remove from the flame and the Mandakki upma will be just as deliciously lip-smacking. Whatever goes for you…come on now, get those creative juices flowing a bit.

I had learnt this from my friend’s mom during college days. Now I make it regularly for our breakfast, with slight variations. I add more veggies for a wholesome breakfast. Vasuki Aunty, if you’re reading, thanks so much for this one. I fondly think of you every time I make this. I really miss eating all that yummy food you would make for us when we were grounded in the room, studying. Those food-breaks were like a breath of fresh air when we had our faces buried in our books all day.

Mandakki Upma


  • Puffed Rice – 200 gms (the blistered variety)
  • Onions – 2 nos, medium-sized, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes – 2-3 nos, medium-sized, finely chopped
  • Capsicum/Bell Pepper – 1 no, large-sized, diced
  • Carrot – 1 no, large-sized, grated
  • Green Chillies – 4 nos, slit vertically (alter to suit your taste)
  • Curry leaves – a sprig, finely chopped
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a handful, finely chopped
  • Lime juice – from 1 large lemon
  • Red Chilly powder – 1 tbsp (alter to suit your taste)
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds – 2 tbsps
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Oil – 2 tbsps
Serves: 2-3 persons


  1. I use the blistered variety of puffed rice (the same as what is used to make Bhel puri). The smooth variety can also be used however it gets very soggy, and quickly. The blistered variety holds up for almost 8-10 hours before the grains shrink to a very small size.
  2. If you are not able to use lime juice for some reason, you could even use Amchur powder to lend a nice tangy note to the upma, or you could even leave it out altogether.


  • In a wok (preferably non-stick), heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and jeera and allow to pop.
  • Add the finely chopped onions, slit green chillies, finely chopped curry leaves and turmeric powder. Saute on a medium flame till the onions are cooked tender. (You could even use the curry leaves whole. Somehow whole curry leaves in any dish sends me into a frenzy, specially if the leaves are really big. I have this OCD of chopping it up. You could even choose to call it finesse. I wouldn’t mind the compliment ;)).
  • Next, throw in the chopped capsicum. Fry till just about cooked.
  • Add the grated carrot and fry till cooked.
  • Add the tomatoes, red chilly powder, salt and cook till the tomatoes turn mushy and your kitchen smells nice and aromatic. If using amchur powder instead of lime, add it now.
  • Wash the puffed rice in a colander and drain it of all water. (Don’t press over it or anything. Let it drain the water naturally). If you want to sit the colander on your platform, don’t leave it there for more than a couple of minutes. Immediately add it to the wok and stir till incorporated.
  • Add the chopped coriander and stir.
  • Remove from flame, stir in the lime juice, and serve hot.
If you chop the onions and get down to making this right after, ie, if you chop the other veggies as the onions are cooking, you can fix this in under 15 minutes. Doesn’t it sound too good to be true? Sometimes, I feel this upma beat even the Wholewheat-Oats-Wheat bran-Potato pancakes in the face! Go on and make this as soon as you get a chance, cos I just know – You. Will. Love. It.


23 responses to “Mandakki Upma

  1. Hey which one is the blistered variety? Mysore puri or Bangalore puri. I think my mum uses the thick smooth ones. I’m not sure though.
    Love this one though, makes a great breakfast

  2. This is one quick fix at my place too….I sometime add roasted gram powder to it which gives a nice taste to it..

  3. looks healthy and delicious..
    nice clicks 🙂

  4. Wat a quick fix, love it..

  5. Awesome clicks, and great breakfast idea.

  6. Rice puff is murmura to me what is blistered variety

  7. Another masala type for same mandaki upma could be
    Grind coconut, green chillie, jeera,garlic to coarse paste and add this to tadka.. The taste of garlic and jeera with coconut is yummy too.. I make your and this variation.

  8. This is certainly something new for me. I am guessing this will be a hit with kids and sure sounds easy to fix on busy mornings. Will try churning this up over a weekend first to test the (mouth)water(ing)s at home….but from the look of it, and like what you’ve said – My men will. love. it! 🙂

  9. It feels like spring around here! Nice 🙂

  10. Madhuri….ur recipes are a big hit with my friends as well!! Way to go…

  11. **(Somehow whole curry leaves in any dish sends me into a frenzy, specially if the leaves are really big. I have this OCD of chopping it up. You could even choose to call it finesse. I wouldn’t mind the compliment)**
    I like that.

    I prepare this similarly….if you have veggies good if not also, too good 🙂

  12. Wow…looks appetizing…….extremely yum recipe…lovely presentation too….

  13. awwww that looks so nutritious and delicious. the Perfect breakfast …

  14. Hi Madhuri,

    Nice post. Most people even in B’lore may not be knowing that mandakki upma exists. We use Mysore puri for this. Just soak the puri for 5-10 mins in water. This won’t make it soggy. But instead upma will remain as soft as freshly made. If u wash it and add to the tempering it will shrink and turn gritty as it cools. My mom adds a little bit of ginger-garlic paste and garam masala to it. It totally adds a new dimension to this dish.

  15. Aiyyo Mads – my paati used to make pori upma for us as evening snack when we come back from school. One of my childhood favorites. I actually like to eat it even after it became a little soggy..what can I say. Love love this and I badly want this immediately beacause I’m starving and can’t think of anything else but food.

  16. Hi Madhuri:

    Love your blog. I have been following it for a few days now since I got it from my sister Divya.

    I was born and brought up in Bangalore and never knew about Mandaki Upma.

    I tried it yesterday and it was awesome.

    I also tried the tender coconut payasam last week when I had some unexpected guests. I had bought the tender coconut (frozen, as that is all that is available here) wanting to try this recipe and it was a hit.

    Thanks for all the great recipes and keep blogging.

  17. wow!! super stuff madhuri!! love this puffed rice upma receipe – will surely try it out real soon!!

  18. Sudha Narayanan

    Tried it out twice already! Late feedback 😦 Me too a big time sucker for quick fix bfast dishes! Loved it when I had it at your place.. Loaded with veggies and simple to make, what else can one ask for?? 🙂 🙂 Thanks a lot, gal!!

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