Tomato Bhaat

Tomato Upma, Spicy Semolina Porridge, Savory Porridge

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For this week’s Cooking from Cookbook Challenge, I have a quick and easy recipe; tomato bhaat. Is it tomato bhaat or tomato upma? After reading the ingredients list, don’t ask me why it is called Bhaat. I asked myself the same question last week, when I found this recipe in my recipes folder. I thought bhaat is rice or a rice dish in Kannadiga and Marathi cuisines. However, I did not have this gyan (knowledge) about the cuisines when I wrote down the recipe some 14-15 years ago. Yes, you read it right. I jolted down this recipe that long ago! Had I known this fact back then, I would have asked the person who gave me the recipe the same question. If I wrote down the recipe name as tomato bhaat, then tomato bhaat it is!

This recipe to me is a variation of upma with lots & lots of tomatoes. I made this recipe twice in the last few days. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe as given except for cutting back a little on oil and replaced ghee with oil. Today, I used the same amount of oil as called for in the recipe and used more water to cook the rava~semolina~sooji but made half the recipe. The recipe also called for chana dal and since I did not have any in my pantry today, I used peanuts instead.

Tomato Upma, Spicy Semolina Porridge, Savory Porridge
I was in a hurry to get to a party and could not click many pictures. This is the only picture for this post. 🙂 Well, not quite. I have one more picture but of the piece of paper where I noted the recipe. I will upload that tomorrow. You see, once I have the draft ready, it is very difficult for me to stay away from that “publish” button. My fingers are itching to click that button 😉 and I here I go, published! 🙂

Tomato Upma, Spicy Semolina Porridge, Savory Porridge

Total Time: 20 – 30 minutes
Preparation: 5 – 10 minutes
Cooking: 15 – 20 minutes
Serves: 2


  • ¼ cup Oil (I usually use olive oil but today it was Canola)
  • ½ tsp. Mustard Seeds
  • ½ tbsp. Urad Dal
  • 2 tbsp. Chana Dal or Peanuts (I used peanuts)
  • 5 Whole Cashews broken into 4 pieces
  • ½ small Onion sliced or ¼ cup sliced Onions
  • 4 Green Chilies cut ½” pieces (adjust to taste)
  • 4-5 Curry Leaves
  • ½ tbsp. Ginger Garlic Paste
  • Pinch of Turmeric
  • 1 medium to large Vine Ripe Tomato chopped or ¾ cup chopped Tomatoes (I used vine tomato but any variety would do)
  • ½ tbsp. Salt (according to taste)
  • 1 cup Coarse Sooji or Rava or Coarse Semolina (I use roasted rava, check notes below)
  • 2 ¼ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • Cilantro to garnish


  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and urad dal. When the mustard seeds pop, add peanuts and lightly roast for a minute or two. If using chana dal, roast until dal is well roasted and turns golden brown in color.
  • Add cashews and mix well and add onion, green chilies and curry leaves. Sauté until onions are translucent.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and sauté until raw smell of ginger is gone.
  • Add turmeric, salt and mix well.
  • Add tomatoes, mix, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes or until tomatoes are mushy.
  • Add water, milk and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat or turn of the fire and add sooji stirring it constantly to avoid any lumps.
  • Once the sooji is properly mixed in the water, turn the flame to high and give it a good stir.
  • Reduce the fire to medium, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until all the water is absorbs. Uncover, stir, cover and continue to cook on low flame for another 3-5 minutes or until sooji is completely cooked.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with some lime or favorite chutney.


  • I usually dry roast sooji and then store it in my pantry, as this increases the shelf life of sooji. The first time I made this bhaat last week, I used unroasted sooji and it tasted fine. However, I prefer dry roasted sooji.
  • Last time I made this bhaat, I used less oil (1/3 cup oil for 2 cups of sooji) and felt I could have used ½ cup of oil as called for in the recipe. I used 1: 2 sooji to water ratio + ¼ cup milk to cook the sooji. Today I used ¼ cup oil for 1 cup sooji and 1: 2 ½ sooji to water + milk ratio. Are you totally lost here? To cut the chase, what I concluded is, if using ¼ cup oil for 1 cup sooji, then 1:2 sooji to water + little milk ratio will still work. But if using less oil, 1:2 ½ water ratio would be better to properly cook the sooji. Second, we like sticky bhaat vs. the dry bhaat. If one prefers not so sticky bhaat or upma, I would suggest 1:2 sooji to water ratio.
  • If using chana dal, wash the dal and soak the dal for few minutes until all the prep work is done. No need to pre-soak it for a longer time. Also, chana dal needs to be roasted a little longer than peanuts.
  • I used oil but can use ghee or clarified butter instead. Or can use 1/2 oil and 1/2 ghee.

This day in 2010: Fish Patties
Recipes I posted this month in 2008 , in 2009 , in 2010 , in 2011 and in 2012.

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10 thoughts on “Tomato Bhaat

  1. We usually call this tomato bath — don’t ask me why. That’s what we were told it is and we kept the tradition 🙂
    Lovely clicks. Love that background. What is it? Did you make it? I’ve been looking for something that shade for a while now.

    1. I didn’t know about it. We do add tomatoes to upma once in a while but never give it a specific name. Nice to know it is indeed called tomato bhaat.

      I did not make the background, Pavani. I don’t have a patio or a balcony to make my own background boards and I am afraid to do these projects indoors in fear of messing up the wooden floor.

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