The upma recipe I’m sharing here is my mom’s recipe and continues to be a favorite in my house. The ingredients used to flavor rava give it a delicious taste that will make this dish one of your new favorite breakfasts.
What is Rava Upma
Upma is a delicious South Indian breakfast dish made with rava or cream of wheat.
This traditional dish consists of cooking roasted rava in water flavored with ghee (or oil), cashew nuts, urad dal (lentils), chana dal (shelled chickpeas), ‘onion, ginger and other herbs and spices. Sugar can be added for a slightly sweet and savory dish.
This hot and steamy breakfast dish can be made vegan by using oil instead of ghee. Full of warmth, flavor and delight, this upma tastes so good. You can not lose!
In any upma recipe, rava is the main ingredient. It is also called “suji” in Hindi and “cream of wheat” or “semolina” in English.
All the fried ingredients that are used for the tempering makes an upma breakfast dish special. These ingredients can vary depending on the recipe, but typically include sweet, savory, and nutty flavors.
Upma is a traditional breakfast served in restaurants in South India including Maharashtra. It is also a common breakfast prepared in houses in South India. In fact, in my house, upma was a regular breakfast or evening snack.
Preparation tip to make Upma faster
This hot, homemade breakfast can be prepared quite quickly, especially with this simple trick.
This can easily be done before time and I actually recommend roasting your rava and keeping it in an airtight container. This will help it stay in good condition for longer and keep it from molding or spoiling.
Having your rava already roasted means this hot breakfast can be prepared in just 15-20 minutes. Roasted rava can also be used in many other recipes, including Rava Cheela and Rava Pongal.
How to make Upma
Preparation and roasting of rava
1. First prepare the ingredients. Take 1 cup rava (fine variety), ⅓ cup of finely chopped onions, 1 teaspoon of chopped green peppers, 1 teaspoon of finely chopped ginger and 2 tablespoons of coriander leaves (cilantro). Also roast 10-12 cashews, 8-10 curry leaves, 1 teaspoon of chana dal and 1 teaspoon of urad dal.
2. First heat a saucepan or kadai. Add 1 cup of rava or cream of wheat (fine variety).
3. Start toasting the rava. Stir often while roasting the rava.
4. The rava or sooji beans should become fragrant and start to appear dry, separated and crisp. Do not brown the rava.
5. Once the rava becomes fragrant and begins to appear crisp and dry, turn off the flame and put it on a plate and set it aside.
Fry and sauté
6. In a frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter) or oil. You can use sunflower oil or peanut oil or safflower oil or any neutral tasting oil.
7. Lower the heat. Add 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds. When you hear the mustard seeds crackle, it means they are fried.
8. Now add ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds with 1 teaspoon of chana dal (shelled and split gram of Bengal) and 1 teaspoon of urad dal (shelled and split black gram).
9. Stir often, fry until the chana dal and urad dal become a little brown.
10. Immediately add 10 to 12 cashews and start frying over low to medium-low heat.
11. By the time the cashews turn golden, the dals should also be golden.
12. Now add the finely chopped onions.
13. Sauté onions until softened and translucent over low to medium-low heat.
14. Then add the chopped green peppers, ginger and curry leaves. At this step, you can also add 1 dried red chilli.
15. Mix well and sauté for a few seconds.
16. Then to this mixture, add 2.5 cups of water.
17. Add salt as needed. Mix well and check the taste of the water. It should be some salty, but not too much. In case the salt becomes less in the dish, you can always sprinkle some salt from the top when eating.
18. Then add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Sugar is optional and you can skip it. We add it to prefer a slight sweet taste in the upma.
19. Stir again. Over medium to high heat, heat the water and let it boil.
20. When the water comes to a boil, lower the flame to its lowest level. Then with a spoon, add the rava in 4 to 5 batches.
21. Once you have added the first batch of rava, stir and mix immediately so that the roasted rava is evenly mixed with the water.
22. Then add the next batch of rava. Mix and stir again very well making sure the batch of rava is mixed evenly in the water.
23. Keep adding and stir the rava until the last batch.
24. Stir quickly and mix very well. The rava beans will absorb the water, swell and cook.
25. Cover and steam the upma rava for 2 to 3 minutes over low heat.
26. Then turn off the heating. The rava is cooked well and the upma is all ready.
27. Finally add about 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves (coriander). You can add more cilantro leaves if you want.
28. Mix again.
29. Serve hot upma with lemon slices. I also sprinkle sev (fried chickpea flour vermicelli) on upma while serving. Although this is not the way upma is traditionally served, people at home prefer this Mumbai style. You can also serve it with coconut chutney or idli podi or lemon pickle.