Introduction: Spicy Semolina Cutlets

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Crispy, golden brown semolina cutlets made using a south Indian style savory semolina porridge called "upma"; a perfect teatime or Valentine ’s Day treat!

Step 1: INGREDIENTS NEEDED for the Savory Semolina Pudding or Porridge:

1 cup semolina

½ cup onions, finely chopped

¼ to ½ cup chopped carrots

½ cup green peas (fresh or frozen)

2 green chilies/jalapeno/Serrano

1 inch piece ginger, grated or finely chopped

Handful of curry leaves, whole or finely chopped

1 to 1 ½ tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp urad dal/white lentils/split black gram dal

Handful of peanuts, optional

2 cups hot water

¼ cup oil

3 tablespoons ghee/clarified butter (Optional but gives a lovely aroma and flavor!)

Salt to taste

Freshly chopped coriander leaves or cilantro for garnish


2 cups upma or savory semolina Indian spiced porridge

½ beetroot, peeled and grated

3 to 4 tbsp rice flour or cornstarch

½ tsp amchur or chaat masala powder (optional)

1 tsp garam masala powder

¼ tsp haldi

Crushed black pepper

Salt if needed


Oil for deep frying

Oats flour (blended rolled oats);

2 to 3 tbsp Rice flour (or cornstarch)

½ tsp red chili powder/cayenne powder (optional)

Salt to taste


Prep all the ingredients – chop onions, green chilies, curry leaves (if using chopped), carrots, grate ginger etc.

Step 4:

Keep water for boiling and add green peas to it. Boil until the peas are cooked; set aside.

Step 5:

Heat oil in a large deep saucepan or kadai and once it is hot, add mustard seeds.

The seeds will splutter and crackle and when almost done, stir in urad da/white lentils and saute for a few seconds until light golden.

Stir in chopped green chilies, onions, curry leaves and ginger; give it a good stir and fry on medium heat until the onions are soft.

Step 6:

Add the chopped carrots and peanuts if using and saute for a minute.

Step 7:

Tip in the semolina and mix well.

Roast/fry on medium heat, stirring often until the semolina is well fried/roasted and the seasonings and oil are coating it well.

Step 8:

At this stage, add salt to taste and the hot water (along with the green peas, if using), stirring continuously with a ladle to avoid any lumps. To avoid splashing of cooking semolina, lower the heat at this stage.

You can add a couple of tablespoons of ghee now and then keep mixing continuously.

Step 9:

Close with a lid and let cook on low heat for a couple of minutes to allow the semolina to absorb all the water and cook well.

Once done, remove the lid, stir in more ghee if needed (recommended!) and garnish with freshly cut cilantro.

Mix well and serve hot with some Indian crispies like banana chips, boondi, mixture, sev etc.

South Indians love to enjoy it with some coconut chutney so do serve some on the side if possible. I was out of freshly grated coconut, so had to omit that!

But, to make the semolina heart-shaped cutlets proceed as follows.


In a large mixing bowl, add 2 cups upma, grated beets, rice flour or cornstarch and the spice powders.

Add chopped cilantro too if needed.

Step 11:

Give it a good mix and bind into a firm dough.

Step 12:

Now, line a pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil (grease if using this) with a overhang for easy removal of set cutlet dough. To help it stay in the pan while patting the dough, apply grease to the pan before lining.

Pat the prepared cutlet dough evenly over the parchment, smoothing the edges too. Set in refrigerator to set for 2 to 4 hours.

Step 13:

Heat oil for deep frying.

Remove the chilled cutlet dough from the fridge and using a heart-shaped cutter (or any shape you like), cut out hearts of cutlet dough and set on a plate.

Step 14:

Make a fine powder of rolled oats and place in a bowl large enough to allow coating of cutlet.

In another bowl, make a slurry of rice flour, chili powder (optional), salt and water to make a slightly coating mixture; not too thin, not too thick.

Step 15:

Gently dip the cutlet in the slurry just to moisten it; do not let it soak in the slurry too long or they will soften and break up!

Once the cutlet is slightly moistened with the rice slurry, gently drop into the bowl of oats powder and coat well all over. Make sure to have a thick coating as possible.

Step 16:

Drop in the hot oil and deep fry for a couple of minutes until it turns golden brown and is crisp all over.

Remove and set on absorbent paper line plates to remove excess oil.

Deep fry all the cutlets similarly.

Serve hot, crispy and spicy semolina cutlets with some ketchup or your favorite green chutney!

Enjoy Foodies and Happy Cooking!

Step 17: NOTES:

Adjust the amount of spices according to personal taste.

Make sure you do not have big pieces of veggies or even nuts as then it will be difficult to cut the set dough into perfect shapes. If possible try to avoid nuts.

If you do not have any cutters, just make cutlets/patties like you would make any tikki and deep fry.

For a simpler version, avoid all the veggies in the upma and just use grated beets and carrots when making the dough.

Try not to soak the cutlet dough in the slurry for too long; just dip to moisten and then coat with oats flour or even a fine flour of cornflakes, more semolina or even bread crumbs.

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