Search this blog

Leftover Idli Upma

Before I share the recipe of my favourite leftover-makeover idea, here is a brief "Life lately" that I wanted to share to justify my frequent absence! :-P

It is almost two years since I started living in Yanbu but it is only now that I am busy like never before. Busy with things that don’t include the blog. So much that I have conveniently pushed my blog behind every time my “old-me-inside-my-heart” makes a presence with a reminder,  “Girl, there are a few drafts you have to give final review”, “Hey would you write a post today?” “Why don’t you hit the publish button?” Sadly, I always gave her a deaf ear, because I am addicted to a new hobby! Now Don’t laugh at me, I can’t believe I am into this. I binge watch Melissa Maker’s Clean My Space!

You can laugh with me now! :-P I am into the thorough cleaning of every nook and corner of my home. My grocery list has more cleaning products than veggies, I am also buying a few spray bottles to make her DIY cleaning solutions. As much as I love to have a clean space, I use to abhor the task. Some days I just do it for the sake of it without really wanting to do it. I dump everything in the closet and shelves so outside it looks neat! Not anymore! Just like we get bored with our own cooking and try something new or go out and dine, a newer way of cleaning or folding the laundry just makes you enjoy the task like never before! That is exactly what happened to me. I went in to clean the washroom totally with her ideas and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Like who says that? I enjoyed cleaning the bathroom! :-P

Apart from cleaning my space, I also started to keep a to-do list note up on the fridge magnet. Of course with NO end date. The lists include little things that I could do like a reminder to use up certain food item so I save them from getting expired, craft ideas, blog notes, recipe ideas, ingredients knowledge check... because, after the bathroom, it is the kitchen where I get amazing bulb moments! :-D Oh and yes, I have got back to crocheting and am a great fan of a few YouTube channels like Wooly Wonder Crochet and bhooked.

Now to the most exciting part.

My earlier attempts of trying to make friends locally failed miserably and I chose to be in my own little nest with my man and my virtual friends on the blogosphere. Then I read an article by Rabia.S. I read it at the right time of my life. The article talked about ex-pat ladies making friends and suggested that FB groups are a great way to start off. I never knew about that!

Living in Saudi, and then if its Yanbu, there is very little chance to meet other people and make new friends etc. I immediately searched for FB groups but there were none in Yanbu. Recently I checked again and saw a couple of groups for Yanbu ladies but I had language issues yet I have joined to just get details of activities around the city. But I was super surprised that a few ladies who moved here recently or have been here for years are reaching out to me because they found me through the blog or FB or Instagram etc. I loved the fact that finally, my purpose of starting a blog is taking shape! One of them happened to be my kinda person and within a week of chatting, we planned to meet up for dinner! I had the best girl time and the men also got on well with no awkward silence. In fact, they had more to talk than us! :-D So guys! I have a new friend who lives next door! How cool is that?? Not too far off, yet I cannot go on my own - need a man to drive me there! #problemsoflivinginSaudi

Thank you for reading so far and remember the countless blessings we all have. Alhamdulillah!

Now to the recipe - Idli Upma! 

Leftover Idli Upma

I had shared how to make idli and today it is another dish which is made out of any leftover idlis. Growing up, we hardly had leftovers of idli but when we do, then mom re-steams them and serves it with some non-veg curry of that day or make a simple upma. I have included veggies to make it breakfast in a bowl so we can have it even on the couch :-P again binge-watching some favourite shows.

This is best prepared with leftover that has been sitting in the fridge at least overnight. This way it would crumble easily and resemble semolina. Therefore you must use refrigerated idlis. Use the recipe as a guideline and adjust the ingredients according to your taste and availability of idlis.

How to make Idli Upma with leftover idlis


10 medium-sized a day older or refrigerated idlis
1 tablespoon sesame oil (or any cooking oil)
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal
a few curry leaves
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
1 medium onion, diced 
1/2 to 1 cup of chopped carrots and french beans
1 medium tomato, diced
2 pinches of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
a fistful of chopped coriander leaves to garnish
1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Crumble the old cold idlis with your hands. 
  2. Heat oil in a pan. 
  3. Add mustard seeds and wait for it to splutter and then add the urad dal.
  4. Sauté the urad dal until they turn a light brown
  5. Add the chopped green chillies, curry leaves and onions
  6. Saute until onions turn translucent (season with salt at this stage)
  7. Add the chopped veggies like carrots and beans; saute this until almost cooked
  8. Add the tomatoes and cook until it breaks down
  9. Add turmeric, test the salt and mix well. 
  10. Cook for few more minutes and then add the crumbled idlis
  11. Reduce the heat to a low and mix well
  12. Cover and cook on low heat for a few minutes until the upma gets heated thoroughly.
  13. Turn off the heat and add a few drops of lemon juice 
  14. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves
  15. Serve hot as is or with some chutney
Leftover Idli Upma

"Upma" seems to be "Not Food" in F's invisible menu! Whenever I offered to make upma he always says Hmmmm ok - Now who in the right mind would make it after the hmm?... So upmas are usually my go-to weekday lonely breakfast. With this idli upma, I didn't count him in and made some ari dosha for him. But I guess the vibrant colour of this dish has lured him to try and he instantly loved it. Is it so easy to lure men to eat leftovers! LOL!


I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then do share the recipe link on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchai so that I can see your creations!