Upma - A very popular savory south Indian breakfast dish made using semolina, spices and herbs.
It is super easy 15 minutes recipe that is crazy delicious and a healthy meal in itself. Here is how to make it step by step on stove top as well as in the Instant Pot.
So, today on the blog is the recipe of traditional south Indian rava Upma that is now popular across the country.
There was a time when I never liked it during my childhood or college days. But after coming to Bangalore, I had started developing the taste for it. Honestly, I have no idea how and when it happened.
May be because it's my husband's favorite and he has been eating it very often. So, I use to make it regularly at home. And now I am in love with this semolina porridge so much so that I can eat it anytime of the day.
A bowl of delicious and soft rava upma with coconut chutney and a cup of hot filter coffee on the side is a meal to die for!
I have been receiving the compliment from him since years that I make the best upma ever! Oh no..no...no ! That's not a boasting at all. I get to hear the same words from my little daughter as well.
So, let’s head on to learn more and to see how to make it at home.
About the recipe
Upma is a healthy and yummy thick porridge like savory dish that is made using semolina (cream of wheat), herbs and spices. It is a very popular dish from Southern states of India and Sri Lanka.
It makes a great meal for breakfast or snack and even for lunch or dinner. Many people also call this dish with the names like sooji upma or Suji ka upma (in Hindi) as well.
Semolina is also known as rava or sooji (suji) in hindi. Here, I have seen, people usually make it using Bombay rava or fine sooji that is also known as upma rava.
In most of the South Indian restaurants, Uppittu aka Uppamavu is served along with kesari bath (sooji halwa south Indian style). It is known as chow chow bath.
Rava Upma has always been a choice of breakfast or light meal for us. The reason being, it takes no time to get done. Moreover, it also makes an ideal tiffin meal for kid’s lunch box.
Plus, the flavour, taste and texture of the steaming hot upma is so amazing, that one can't resist digging into it.
The addition of the vegetables is another important factor that makes it more healthier and filling. Vegetables also gives great crunch and taste to it.
There are few fixed ingredients we have to use to get that authentic south Indian taste in Upma Recipe.
So, talking about the ingredients, few spices are a must .i.e mustard seeds, curry leaves, urad dal, chana dal and cashew nuts.
Mustard Seeds, dals and curry leaves tempering gives distinct characteristic flavour that depicts a true South Indian flavour. So, I would highly recommend using it in the recipe.
Cashew nuts adds great texture and nutty taste to soft upma, so do consider adding it to the recipe. However, if you are allergic to cashew nuts, then just skip it.
The main component of this recipe, of course is dry roasted semolina (rava). For rich flavor and taste, roast the sooji in ghee.
Well, you can use oil for roasting semolina. But ghee gives more enticing aroma and taste to it. Also, if you want a vegan option, then skip ghee and use any plant-based oil.
The other seasoning ingredients are ginger, green chilies, onions, salt, sugar and lemon juice. Feel free to skip onions, if you want to make no onion version.
If you notice I have also added couple of veggies .i.e carrot and peas, as it was our lunch meal. But, if you wish, you can skip veggies, no any such rules to add vegetables is a must. Lastly, coriander leaves are used for garnish.
Step by Step Recipe
In a kadhai or pan, for roasting rava, heat 1/2 tablespoon ghee or oil. Photo 1.
Add rava (semolina) and roast is for 2-3 minutes on medium taking care that it doesn't burn, once roasted well, it will release nice roasted earthy aroma. Photo 2.
Transfer it on a plate and set it aside. Photo 3.
In a same pan, heat remaining ghee. Add mustard seeds and allow it to crackle. Now, add chana dal and urad dal and fry for 30 seconds on medium heat until just golden, do not burn. Photo 4.
Add cashew nuts and fry for another 30 seconds, until just light brown. Add curry leaves and green chilies, fry for 30 seconds. Photo 5.
Now add chopped onions, grated ginger, salt and fry until soft and pink. Photo 6.
Next, add peas and carrot and fry on high for another minute. Photo 7.
Then, add 3 cups of water and mix. Bring to a boil, add salt, sugar, lemon juice and mix. Photo 8.
Now, gradually add roasted sooji/rava stirring continouosly to avoid any lumps. Mix well. Photo 9.
Next, on a medium heat, let it to cook for a minute such that rava absorbs all the water. Photo 10.
Now, cover the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat. This helps to steam the upma well. Here, you may add some more lemon juice also, if you wish to. Photo 11.
It is ready to serve. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve. Photo 12
Making it in Instant Pot
Note: As we will be making it in Instant pot, I would recommend you to either dry roast the semolina in pan on stove top or use store bought roasted semolina. You will find that roasted sooji is mentioned on the store bought package. Just pick that pack from the store and proceed with this method.
To start with, switch on the IP on normal sauté mode and heat ghee or oil. Then, add mustard seeds and sauté for few seconds. Photo 1.
Add chana dal and urad dal, sauté until it just turns light golden. Photo 2.
Then, add cashew nuts and sauté for few seconds until its golden. Do not Burn. Photo 3.
Add curry leaves and green chilies, fry for few seconds. Photo 4.
Now, add chopped onions and grated ginger. Sauté until onion turns out soft. Photo 5.
Add green peas and chopped carrot, sauté for 1 minute. Photo 6.
Now, add dry roasted semolina and mix. Photo 7.
Add salt, sugar, lemon juice and 3 cups of warm water and immediately mix everything. (you can add 2.5 cups of water if you like little denser consistency). Photo 8.
Cover the pot with IP lid and set the pressure to Low for '1' minute only. The IP will build the pressure and immediately it will turn off as we have the cooking time to 1 minute only. Photo 9.
Let it rest for 5 minutes and then open the pot. By this time upma will be cooked through well. You will see that all the water has been absorbed. Photo 10.
Add chopped coriander leaves and mix. Take the inner steel pot out of the IP, Cover with glass lid and let it rest for another couple of minutes. Photo 11.
You can see how beautifully it has been cooked in Ip without any burns at the bottom. Photo 12.
Dish out the Upma and serve hot with coconut on the side.
Pro Tips to get the perfect consistency
If you like to eat soft and melt in mouth upma, do add exact 3 cups of water to 1 cup of rava. This will give perfect softness preventing it to get dry.
Note: Also, to make the perfect upma, always use the same measuring cup to measure the water that you are using to measure rava.
Another important thing here is, roasted semolina gives fine taste and earthy flavour to the dish. So, do not forget to roast sooji in ghee (or oil, for vegan version) first. And then proceed to make it.
For the best flavour, make it in ghee only. Or at least in a mix of both ghee and oil.
Some people like to add whole dried red chili. So, if you like it than you can add 1-2 along with green chilies.
Stir continuously after adding the semolina. This will help to avoid formation of any lump.
Do serve this hot rava upma along with Coconut Chutneys and a cup of hot filter coffee. Mark my words, this combination is a heaven.
Even Peanut Chutney pairs great with Upma.
The addition of tomatoes in it makes it tomato upma.
Furthermore, we can add more veggies which makes it as delicious and healthy Vegetable Upma.
Semiya Upma (with vermicelli).
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Rava Upma Recipe
- 1 cup Semolina (rava /sooji)
- 2 tablespoons Ghee or Oil
- 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Chana Dal (Split Chickpeas)
- 1 teaspoon Urad Dal (split husked black lentil)
- 8-10 Cashew Nuts
- 12-14 Curry Leaves
- 2 Green Chilies slit or chopped
- 1 Onion medium size, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Ginger grated
- Salt To Taste
- 3 tablespoons Green Peas (optional)
- 1 Carrot (optional) chopped
- 3 cups Water
- 3/4 teaspoon Sugar
- Lemon Juice as needed
- Coriander Leaves for garnish
How To Make Rava Upma Recipe on Stove Top
- In a kadhai or pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon ghee or oil.
- Add 1 cup of semolina or rava and roast is for 2-3 minutes on medium flame taking care that it doesnt burn.
- Once roasted well, it will release nice roasted earthy aroma. Transfer it on a plate and set aside.
- In a same kadhai or pan, heat remaining ghee or oil. Add mustard seeds and let it to crackle.
- Add chana dal and urad dal and fry for 30 seconds until just golden, do not burn.
- Add cashew nuts and fry for another 30 seconds, until just golden.
- Add curry leaves and green chilies, fry for another 30 seconds.
- Then, add onions, grated ginger, salt and mix. Fry until soft and pink.
- Add peas and carrot and fry on high for a minute.
- Add 3 cups of water and mix. Bring to a boil, add salt, sugar, lemon juice and mix.
- Carefully and gradually add roasted rava stirring continuously to avoid any lumps. Mix well.
- Let it to cook for a minute such that rava absorbs all the water.
- Cover the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat. This helps to steam the upma well.
- Add coriander leaves and mix. Here, you may add some more lemon juice if you wish to.
- Dish out and serve hot with coconut chutney.
Making Rava Upma In Instant Pot
- To start with, switch on the IP on normal sauté mode and heat ghee or oil.
- Add mustard seeds and sauté for few seconds.
- Add chana dal and urad dal, sauté until it just turns light golden.
- Add cashew nuts and sauté for few seconds until its golden. Do not Burn.
- Add curry leaves and green chilies, fry for few seconds.
- Now, add chopped onions and grated ginger. Sauté until onion turns out soft.
- Add green peas and chopped carrot, sauté for 1 minute.
- Now, Add dry roasted semolina and mix.
- Now, add salt, sugar, lemon juice and 3 cups of water and immediately mix everything.
- Cover the pot with IP lid and set the pressure to Low for '0' minutes. The IP will build the pressure and immediately it will turn off as we have set the cooking time to zero minutes.
- Let it rest for 5 minutes and then open the pot. By this time upma will be cooked through well and all the water wll be absorbed.
- Add chopped coriander leaves and mix.
- Take the inner steel pot out of the IP, cover with glass lid and let it rest for another couple of minutes. Dish out the Upma snd serve hot with coconut on the side.
- I have added 3 cups of water for 1 cup of suji here. This ratio gives soft melt in mouth upma. However, if you wish to make it little less soft, then go ahead with ratio of 1 cup sooji to 2.5 cups of water.
- For Vegan Version, skip ghee and go ahead with vegetable oil.
- If you are allergic to cashew nuts, then you can use peanuts instead.
- This recipe was made using 6 qt Instant Pot DUO60. I prefer making this recipe on low pressure as it avoids giving ‘Burn’ message when cooked on high pressure in newer IP models.
- You can follow the ‘High’ or ‘Low’ pressure cooking as per the model of IP you own.