Idli Upma (Idli Usli, Idli Phan)

Idli Upma (Idli Usli, Idli Phan)

Idli is a daily breakfast among south Indians. At home there are only two ways to empty the leftover idlis. Fry the leftover idlis to make them crispy or prepare idli upma.

Idli usli/idli phaan is a yummy alternative to the boring idli. Idli upma is prepared by powdering/crumbling the idlis with hands and then seasoning it to make a yummy snack. The flavourful seasoning adds great taste to this dish. This spicy, seasoned, powdered idli dish is called as idli usli or idli phaan in Konkani. This idli upma is prepared for breakfast or as a tea time snack. And at home idli upma is usually prepared when there's a batch of leftover idli's that need to be emptied. 

For preparing idli usli/idli phaan it's important that the idlis when powdered are not sticky and the cooked idli rava gets well separated on powdering. On powdering the idli, they should not remain as small clumps. You can make do with such idlis but idli phaan/idli usli tastes best when you get well separated cooked idli rava ie, you have a dry powdered idli.

Just 2-3 idlis will make lots of idli phaan so add idlis accordingly. Also, idli upma has the best texture when made out of idli's that are steamed a few hours before. The freshly steamed idli's may not give the dry, powdered idli texture.


  • 3-4 idlis
  • 1 big onion (optional)
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 2 leaflets of curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon urad dal (split black lentils)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of oil
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh grated coconut (optional)
  • Lemon juice of half a lemon (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh corrainder (optional)
  • A pinch of asafoetida powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Serves: 2

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Preparation Method:

1. Crumble the idlis with hand into a fine powder such that all the idli rava separates well. Make sure there are no clumps. That's when each bit of it takes up the flavour of the seasoning and tastes yummy. The clumps on other hand, if there are any, remain tasteless. 

Keep them aside.

2. Peel and slice the onion as thinly as possible and keep them aside. 

You can even finely chop the onion.

3. Heat oil in a wok, add in mustard seeds.

4. Once the mustard seeds starts to splutter, add in urad dal, slit green chillies, dried red chilli broken into pieces and fry them until the urad dal starts to brown.

5. Add in curry leaves and asafoetida powder. Let them sizzle for a few seconds.

6. Now add in the sliced/finely chopped onion, little salt to fasten its cooking process. Saute on medium flame until it becomes translucent and starts to brown.

However, onion is optional and idli usli tastes awesome even without it.

7. Now add the powdered idli and mix well. Check and adjust salt if required.

8. Simmer for few minutes until the powdered idli heats up. Saute once in a while to make sure powdered idli doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

9. Add in grated coconut, chopped fresh corrainder, lemon juice and mix well.

10. Remove off heat and serve hot.

Find more Konkani cuisine breakfast and tea time snack recipes here.

Tags: Leftover idli, idli usli, idli phaan, tea time snack, breakfast, Konkani food, Konkani recipe, Konkani cuisine, Konkani dish, Udupi Cuisine, Mangalore food.