The Mighty Twist 

Quinoa Upma (Instant Pot)

This one so far is my favorite transformation. I’m not an Upma kind of person. The mushiness of Upma (or sheera for that matter) never quite worked for me but the flavors are undeniably delicious. I like textures in my food, louder the better. (yes, I’m a cruncher) Swapping the semolina with the graininess of quinoa, best decision ever. The healthy part is an add-on and totally unintentional (ok, maybe not entirely). Thanks to the Instant Pot, it’s pretty quick and it would be quite a shame not to try it. For those of you who don’t possess this magical equipment, holidays are coming right up (Hint)! You could always cook this the old fashioned way on the stove. Of course it’ll take a few minutes longer, but it’s well worth the effort. 


  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp each of cumin, mustard & fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp each of Urad & Chana dal 
  • 1 pinch asafoetida 
  • 7-8 curry leaves 
  • 1/2 red onion (or 1 small red onion), chopped 
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated 
  • 1 cup Quinoa (I used tricolor)
  • 2 cups water 
  • Salt to taste 
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder 
  • 1 tsp cumin powder 
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder 
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil for tempering
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped (optional)
  •  5-6 cashews, halved (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro 


    1. Set the Instant Pot on Sauté mode. Heat the ghee and fry the seeds & dals. 
    2. Add the asafoetida & curry leaves.
    3. Add the onions and fry until golden brown. Add the ginger and stir for half a minute.
    4. Add the quinoa and lightly roast it for 3-4 minutes. (Don’t skip)
    5. Add the water. Add the salt, spices & sugar. This is your chance to do a taste test. Adding more salt once this is cooked is not really logical if you ask me (You sort of are!) 
    6. Cover the lid, seal. Set the Instant Pot on rice mode. 
    7. As soon as the timer goes off, quick release and fluff with a fork. 
    8. Heat the oil for tempering, and fry the cashews and chilies. 
    9. Once it starts to turn brown, scoop out the cashews and chilies using a slotted spoon and garnish the quinoa with them leaving the oil behind. (I just don’t think any more fat is required.) 
    10. Add cilantro & serve warm! 

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