Idly upma – 3 styles of Leftover idli recipes

idly upma

Leftover idlis! no worries, here are three ways to upgrade those leftover goodies to one of the most loved breakfasts. this quick and easy make over idea takes less than 10 minutes and guarantees a happy tummy.

What is your favourite breakfast?

 We did not need much cajoling to admit it is an idly or dosa. If you prompt a seasoned South Indian mum as to. what we do when we get bored of idlies, we say idly upma!! Now, I do get that it doesn’t take any effort to crumble up so idlies and call it upma. When we call it idly upma it is certainly not just crushed idlies!! We go through elaborate efforts to complete the makeover. 

In this post, you have three varieties of idly upmas that I love to discuss – my mums, my mother-in-laws and mine. The first two people are the ones who shaped and groomed my culinary skills, Mum is fantastic in the kitchen with heavy Kerala influences and loves her pickles podis and preserves. Mother-in-law on the other hand has a in-depth knowledge of traditional Tamil dishes and has influences from her Udupi stay. Though these two mums influence all my cuisine skills, my idly upma is different from theirs they certainly are three different flavours as well. As you read on, another mum needs your attention today. 

leftover idly upma

Mum’s sliced upma

As a child I hated anything crushed, sticky or squished. So, ma stopped crushing the idly instead she sliced the Since the idlies puff up in the mould the slices had a beautiful oblong shape. Into the basic tempering, she added these sliced idlies and slow-roasted them in ghee. Even though it was perfectly made, it was rejected by me in those days. Think about it!! what a nerve!!

Here is the recipe for the basic Idly

idli upma with leftover idlies

Mother in laws idli upma

When it came to her there was hardly any asking if we like it or not! So I guess I should say, times change from being that single child who used to get away by throwing a tantrum to the eldest daughter-in-law expected to take in the reins!! I guess I changed mainly due to the flavour. So start with the crushed leftover idlies (she made a transition!!). The same south Indian mix for tempering(this is the uniting part in our recipes) The mustard crackles in the sesame oil and in goes the crushed idlies with a generous handful of homemade gunpowder or podi. Toss them around till they are well mixed. Here comes the magic.. the secret that made me eat it. A tbsp of sugar is sprinkled on the whole mix. This gives that sweet and spicy mix, so hot and yummy!!

Have you tried Malligai poo Idlies? here is the recipe link.

Now to mine with veggies.

I was big on veggies from the beginning. So apart from the best parts of various versions, I have nuts and veggies to go in the idly upma. The colour is turmeric as it contrasts well with green veggies. Most often it is the quick-cooking broccoli, shredded carrots and cabbage etc that hide in this recipe. Herbs….lots of them. The end result is more like a warm couscous than idly.
here we are,  the three women in my family have taken up different versions of the leftover idlis.

Trying new Idli variations – Try Quinoa and oats Idly

An appeal – For a special Mum.

While we are talking about mums, there is one more mum who needs you today. It is hard to hear your mum is unwell let alone you need to make things easier to make it easy on her. Here is a mum, who needs your attention. Since I personally know this family, Anindo was my Collegemate, I know this appeal would not have come unless it was difficult. It is also hard with medical coverage across the countries. It is harder to be the son/ daughter seeing what mum has to endure. So,  here is a straightforward appeal, support the Gofund appeal in any form you can. even if you can help to spread the word around, we will appreciate it. Every penny counts, every share makes it meaningful. Please do share and contribute. 

To this plating

The karandi or giant ladle here is a borrowed one from a sis-in-law!! It belonged to her grandmother. This is actually the vessel used to create the tempering that is characteristic of most South Indian dishes with the popped mustard seeds, the black gram dal, dried red chillies and tons of curry leaves. I am so thankful to her for sharing this beautiful iron vessel.
So here we are ready for the quantities and measurements of this recipe. Hope you have followed us on our Instagram or subscribed to this blog for all our musings. If not, don’t miss this journey. We will love to share it with you. 

Idli upma

The best way to transform leftover idlies into a brand new breakfast. Add in the veggies and nuts to create a wholesome, vegan, Glutenfree plateful.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine diabetic friendly, Fusion, gluten free, One pot, South indian
Servings 2 people


  • frying pan
  • Cutting board


  • 1/4 cup broccoli
  • 1/4 cup Cabbage
  • 1/4 cup carrots
  • 4 idly
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch salt

Tempering spices

  • 2 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal
  • 1/2 tsp channa dal
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 split green chilli

Optional topping

  • 1/4 cup almond flakes
  • 2 tbsp idly molaga podi


  • Clean the florest of broccoli, grate carrots and grate the cabbage. Set it aside till you need it.
  • Crush or slice the idlies and set it aside.
    crushed idlies for upma
  • Set a frying pan at medium heat.
  • Add the oil, and mustard seeds and let them heat up.
  • As the mustard crackles, add the rest of the tempering ingredients.
  • (Add the sliced idlies here if you want my mother's version or crushed ones if you like my mother in laws version. Saute for a couple of minutes. Add teh idly molagapodi with a tsp of sugar to get my mother in law's recipe perfected. )
  • Once the dals turn golden brown, add the veggies, turmeric and a pinch of salt and saute them well.
  • Add the crushed idlies and saute for another couple of minutes.
  • Add the almond flakes and sprinkle the idly molagapodi and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.
    idly upma
  • Serve the idly upma warm.
    idly upma
Keyword Fermented foods, Indian vegetarian dinner, vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

idli upma

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2 years ago
Rating :

What delicious flavours. I all sounds really comforting too.

2 years ago
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I often think leftovers make the best meals ever. Your mother sounds amazing and your idli upma delicious.

2 years ago
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I love all the spices that are in this! It sounds so delicious and flavorful!

2 years ago
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I’ve never had anything like this before, and it was so yummy. Very different for me, which is fun for a change.

2 years ago

I’ve never made idlies before, but these ideas for leftovers sound delicious, so I will be trying it soon. Thanks for this recipe!

Mayuri Patel
2 years ago
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The ladle is so unique. Love it. Wow this idly upma looks so tempting. Have not tried it. For sure need to make more idlis next time so I can try out this dish.

Jayashree T.Rao
2 years ago
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Idli Upma is a good way to use the leftover idlis. All of them look delicious and equally good.

Priya Vj
1 year ago
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Love idli upma anyday . My style of idli upma is what your MiL makes. Not sure ,why I never thought of adding veggies to the idli upma.. Still wondering 🤔 💭

Mayuri Patel
1 year ago
Rating :

How our taste buds change as we grow up and also when we become mums. What a wonderful way to use up leftover idli. Like all 3 versions, the chopped one, the one with sugar and the veggie one. Bookmarking this recipe to try out when I have some extra idlis.

1 year ago
Rating :

Seema, I love to check on your blog for south Indian recipes. This recipe has taken away my heart. Loved it! Crumbled, squished idli is a big no-no for me too. I love idli upma with idli cut into petit pieces or slices. Thanks for the three variations. Will also check on molaga podi recipe.

1 year ago
Rating :

moms are most creative in feeding leftovers and idli upma is a classic example. I disliked it then and even now. but your sliced idli upma is telling me to take a re-look at idli upma 101 once more 🙂

Jayashree T.Rao
1 year ago

Looks tasty and has some veggies too added in it. I am yet to make this idli upma, will make it next time I make idlis.

Jayashree T.Rao
1 year ago
Rating :

I have heard of idli upma but never made it. It looks tasty with all the added veggies. I must try it now.

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