Upma recipe – One of the most basic tiffin or breakfast from South Indian cuisine. It is made using wheat semolina known as rava. One can find this breakfast in most South Indian homes, tiffin centres and even during large gatherings like weddings, religious ceremonies etc. It is simple, easy to make, affordable hence it makes its appearance so often everywhere. It is usually served with podi, chutney or pickle.
Tomato upma and vegetable upma are other variations to this plain rava upma.
There are many kinds of rava available in the market, but the most commonly used one to make south Indian upma is Bombay rava. It is also known as semolina, suji or sooji and is commonly used to make dishes like suji halwa, rava uttapm, rava kesari and rava ladoo.
Though rava is made from whole wheat grain, it is a refined food. During the processing or milling, the fibre rich skin from the whole wheat is removed first, which also removes the nutrient rich germ that is attached to the outer skin. The resulting starch rich part is ground to rava. Eating Bombay rava often may not be healthy.
If you are looking for healthy alternates to Bombay rava upma, then you may try
Bansi rava upma (samba rava)
brown rice upma
South Indian rava upma recipe below
- ½ cup rava / sooji/ semolina
- 1 tbsp oil / ghee (do not reduce)
- ¼ to ½ tsp cumin (optional, adds aroma)
- ¼ to ½ tsp mustard
- 1 tsp channa dal (optional, adds nice aroma)
- 1 tsp urad dal
- 6 to 8 cashews halved and cleaned
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- handful of sliced onions (1 very small)
- 1 hot green chili slit
- ½ tsp ginger very finely chopped (optional)
- pinch of hing
- 1½ cups water
- lemon juice (optional)
- Dry roast rava on a low to medium heat until crunchy. Transfer to a bowl. Cool it.
- Add oil to the same pan, add urad dal, channa dal, mustard, cumin and cashews. Fry until the dals turn golden.
- Add onions, ginger, curry leaves and green chili. Saute for 2 mins. Add hing.
- Pour water and add salt as needed.
- Bring the water to a boil. With one hand pour rava in a stream to the boiling water, while you stir the rava in the water with the other hand. Stir everything once to check any lumps. Break up if any.
- Cover and cook on a low flame until the water evaporates. Just for a min or 2.
- Open the lid and stir once. Switch off the stove and cover again. Allow upma to rest for 5 mins.
Step by step photos – How to make upma recipe
1. Clean and dry roast half cup rava on a low to medium heat until it turns crunchy. Keep stirring to prevent discoloring.
2. When it is crunchy transfer it to a wide bowl and set aside to cool.
3. Add 1 tbsp oil to the same pan and heat it. Add ¼ to ½ tsp each of mustard and cumin. 1 tsp each of urad dal and chana dal, cashews as desired.
4. Saute on a medium heat until golden.
5. Add handful of thinly sliced onions, 1 slit green chili and a sprig of curry leaves. You can also add ½ tsp of finely chopped ginger. This is optional.
6. Saute just for 2 mins or until you begin to smell the onions and curry leaves. Add hing.
7. Add 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups water and bring it to a boil. When we make upma in small quantities, it usually absorbs up to 3 times the quantity of rava. When you make in large quantity, it can be reduced to 2 ½ times. Since i used ½ cup rava, i used 1 ½ cups water. The texture turns out to be fluffy and not sticky or mushy when cooled down.
8. Add salt and stir. Taste to check the salt before the water becomes too hot.
9. When the water begins to boil, adjust the flame to medium heat. Pour the rava in a stream with one hand and constantly stir the rava in the water with the other hand. This is done to prevent any lumps.
10. Quickly stir and check for any lumps. Break up if any. Be cautious at this moment, as it begins to splash.
11. Cover and lower the flame.
12. After 1 to 2 mins, open and stir the upma. You can also add fresh grated coconut if you like.
13. Switch off and keep the pan covered for about 5 mins. You can add your favorite toppings like lemon juice, podi or ghee.
Serve with peanut podi, chutney, pickle, papad or sambar.