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Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma

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Upma is one of the most common and traditional South Indian breakfast dishes made using rava and veggies.

Upma or rava Upma is a savory porridge where semolina is cooked with some whole spices, nuts, and veggies.

upma served in a plate

Learn how to make your perfect soft and melt-in-mouth upma recipe every single time with the tips and variations I have shared in this recipe. Also, don’t forget to check out the Upma recipe video on this page for more precise instructions.

Upma is a staple breakfast in most South Indian homes. This is also available in South Indian weddings, and parties.

This basic South Indian Upma makes a filling and satisfying morning meal, especially with a side of some hot filter coffee or masala chai

A spoonful of this steaming hot delicious upma has the ideal taste, texture, and flavorings that no one can resist indulging into it. The addition of the nuts adds a nice crunch, and lentils (dals) and vegetables make it healthier and makes it taste more delectable.

This nutritious and wholesome upma is fast to cook and can be ready under 15 minutes if you have the roasted (suji) semolina available at your hand. It is tasty, nutrient-rich, and will be ready in no time.

You can also pack it in your kids’ lunch box as a healthy and wholesome choice.

I grew up devouring upma and poha for breakfast, and they both are my favorite. My Mom made them at least once every week.

Now as a grown-up whenever I have a longing for a quick one-pot Indian breakfast or when I feel like having a healthy and filler breakfast, I always opt for either upma or poha. They are my ultimate comfort food.

This is because upma and poha both are the easiest & quickest instant breakfasts that can be made under 20 minutes. Thus, they make a perfect breakfast for rushy weekday mornings.

During the times when I want to add some veggies to my breakfast, I make Upma too. Because it tastes great with vegetables.

A side of some South Indian style coconut chutney and piping hot upma can make anyone drool. Just sprinkle upma with some fresh lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves, and you are all set to start a beautiful day. There is something very fascinating about this breakfast combination.

rava upma garnished with coriander leaves and served with a lemon wedge

What is Upma?

Upma is a traditional Indian breakfast dish originating from Southern India, but is popular throughout India. You can see upma everywhere in India. 

Upma is also known as uppumavu or uppittu.

Upma is a thick and dense savory porridge usually made using dry roasted semolina (rava or suji). It is also made using coarse rice flour.

Upma is prepared in numerous ways depending on individual likings. The distinctness is in various seasonings, and the addition of vegetables which are often added to the tempering of upma while cooking.

What is Rava Upma?

Semolina is known as rava or sooji (suji) in Hindi. And the Upma which is made with semolina is called rava upma, sooji upma or suji ka upma. 

The method of cooking rava (suji) upma requires dry roasting the rava. This roasted rava is then cooked with tempered and spiced boiling water which has some green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, cashew nuts (and / or peanuts), cumin, mustard seeds. Addition of veggies is entirely optional here.

Is upma good for health?

Yes, Upma is a healthy dish. The key ingredient of the upma recipe is semolina (rava / suji) which is rich in protein, vitamin B, and iron. It also has good carbs from nuts, and fiber from vegetables. All in all, upma is low in fat and calorie content. Upma is a healthy and tasty dish.

This sooji upma recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of cooking oil for making upma. To make it healthier, you can only use 1 tablespoon of oil and this upma will still come out scrumptious.

Some other enticing Indian breakfast recipes that might interest you are:

Samosa Recipe

Bombay Masala Toast 

Moong Dal Toast

Indori Poha

Khaman Dhokla

What are the other variations of Upma?

The traditional upma is made with semolina. But there are also some other varieties of upma cooked in Indian households. 

These variations are usually acquired by focusing particularly main ingredient ‘rava’. These variations are idli (savory rice lentils cake) upma, dalia (broken wheat) upma, sabudana (tapioca pearls) upma, ragi upma, tomato upma, semiya (vermicelli) upma, oats upma, bread upma, and quinoa upma.

What is the best ratio of suji to water for the upma recipe?

This traditional south Indian rava upma recipe is very simple to make when you know the perfect water and rava ratio which works for you. If the rava and water ratio is not right, then you might struggle with getting the right texture. 

It took me some time to find the perfect rava to water ratio which makes perfect traditional south Indian rava upma recipe. 

Many people like to make it with 1:2 and 1:2.5 ratio. Mine is 1:3 which I have learned from many trials and errors, and now I can proudly say that I have mastered making upma because this 1:3 suji to water ratio works with most varieties of rava (suji) every single time. Therefore this is a fail-proof ratio, which can never go wrong.

rava upma upma granished with a green coriander leaf

What are the Ingredients To Cook Upma Recipe?

Upma makes a great last-minute breakfast option when you have nothing else in mind to cook. The good thing about upma is that it is cooked easily accessible ingredients. 

Here are a few ingredients you need for cooking authentic south Indian upma. These ingredients are some seeds, nuts, spices, and herbs. These seeds and lentils tempering produces a distinctive and characteristic flavor to the upma, so they are highly advised.

These ingredients are mustard & cumin seeds, cashew nuts and peanuts, curry leaves, ginger, green chilies, urad dal, chana dal, asafoetida, salt, lemon juice, and semolina. 

I have also added onions, green peas, and carrots to this upma recipe, but feel free to skip these vegetables.

A close up shot of upma shaped in a bowl

How to make Upma?

To make Upma, you will need to roast semolina (rava) on medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes or until the raw smell goes off. Dry roasting is very essential for making upma, it gives a nice tasting upma. 

However, do not overcook, or it will change its color, and we want white semolina. Transfer to a bowl and let it cool.

Next comes the tempering. You make tempering by heating oil in a pan. Then, you add mustard seeds and cumin seeds, chana dal, and urad dal to the oil. Once they are fragrant, you add peanuts and cashew nuts to the oil. Roast them until they turn lightly golden and aromatic. 

Then add curry leaves, green chilies, and ginger and saute for 1 minute

Add chopped onions, and fry until they are transparent. Add asafoetida, carrots and green peas and mix well. Cook for 1 minute.

Add water, and salt. Adding sugar is optional. Bring the water to a boil and turn the heat to medium.

Once the water comes to a boil, start adding the roasted rava, little at a time to boiling water, while stirring continuously in one direction with a spatula.  

Once mixed, break if there are any lumps. Cover and cook on a low heat for 3-4 minutes or until the water evaporates. Once it is done, open the lid and stir again. Add chopped coriander leaves, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and give it a quick stir. Add ghee and mix well.

Turn off the stove and cover it again with the lid. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot. 

overheat shot of upma recipe

How to serve upma?

Rava upma tastes so delightful that it can be served just as it is. Or you can serve it along with with a lemon wedge, and some chutneys such as coconut chutney, coriander chutney, or South Indian Style Peanut Garlic Chutney. 

You can also serve upma with some ketchup. This is how it is served in most North Indian homes.

If you want to experience the best taste, then don’t forget to drizzle upma with freshly squeezed lemon juice right before serving, this would help in bringing out the flavors. And a cup of hot adrak ilaichi wali chai or filter coffee is highly recommended.

To serve kids, you can also top upma with some powdered sugar and ghee.

a close up view of upma served in a darak plate

Tips and variations to make the best rava upma recipe at home

Sooji upma recipe is quite simple when you master the basics. After making upma many times, below I have jotted down all the pointers that one should keep in mind when making a perfect Upma. Go through these tips and tricks and make your best upma ever. Tips begin:

  1. Roasting rava well before cooking is very crucial because the roasting process takes away the raw smell from the rava and it gives a nice taste and best flavor to the upma recipe. Proper roasting also helps in making a non-sticky and fluffy upma. So, do not forget to roast the sooji.
  2. Always roast the semolina on medium heat. High heat can burn it very quickly.
  3. To reduce the cooking time of the upma, you can always roast the rava in bulk and store it in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Simply use pre roasted rava when you are making upma, this would speed-up the upma cooking process.
  4. I generally roast suji without any fat (ghee/ oil). If you want you can roast suji in 1 tablespoon of ghee or oil.
  5. I have added some ghee at the end in this upma recipe to elevate the flavors.
  6. If you are making the vegan version of this upma then simply omit the ghee or add vegan butter.
  7. Do not add all the rava to water all at once. Add semolina little by little while stirring continuously. We need a smooth and lump-free mixture, and these steps are to avoid the formation of any lumps in the mixture.
  8. For best taste, serve this hot rava upma along with green coriander chutney or coriander coconut chutney and a hot cup of filter coffee. Really, this combination is heaven. Upma tastes best when served right fresh. So serve it warm.
  9. Water to suji ratio is very important, so make sure that you use 3 cups of water for 1 cups of rava. The proportion of water to suji is very important for the right texture of the Upma. This upma recipe made with a 1:3 ratio gives a perfectly soft, melt-in-mouth upma where you can feel every soft grain of rava. Also, If you want restaurant-style soft consistency then using 1:3 ratio is recommended.
  10. I have used 2 tablespoons oil for tempering, because it makes upma tasty and also the fat prevents upma from becoming sticky. However, you can always adjust the amount of ghee or oil for this upma recipe.  
  11. Always use the same measuring cup when measuring rava and water. This step would ensure that you are using the right amount of water.
  12. For making the best tasting upma, the choice of rava / suji is very important. In traditional recipes, upma rava or fine rava (barik suji) is used which same fine grains. Upma rava is also known as Bombay Rava and is easily available in the grocery stores. 
  13. The texture of upma may also depend on the type of rava you are using. So if you are not satisfied with the results, then try using semolina of a different variety. 
  14. I have added carrots and peas to this upma recipe. You can add any other vegetables of your choice. If you want more vegetables, you can consider adding chopped beans, cauliflower, corn kernels, broccoli and zucchini to your upma.
  15. Adding chana dal and urad dal adds a great texture and distinct character to soft upma. Therefore it is advisable to use these lentils.
  16. I have added onion, ginger, and some veggies to my Upma. Feel free to skip onions, ginger or vegetables, if you want to make upma without these.
  17. I have added some sugar to the upma recipe. It makes slightly sweet, tangy and spicy tasting upma. Sugar is optional. 
  18. Nuts like cashew nuts or peanuts are added to this upma recipe because they add a subtle crunch to the soft upma. Adding nuts is suggested, so do not skip adding them to your upma recipe unless you are allergic to peanuts or cashew nuts or you don’t like them. I would suggest adding at least one of these nuts to your upma. 
  19. A tempering of seeds, curry leaves, lentils, and asafoetida passes the aromatic flavor to the upma, so the tempering is what makes or breaks it.
  20. Fresh coriander leaves amp up the flavor of upma, so don’t forget to add it. 
rava upma served in shape of a bowl and a coffee glass in background

If you like this then you might also like these other breakfast recipes made using Rava:

Rava Toast Recipe

Instant Oats Rava Dhokla 

Instant Rava Dhokla 

Instant Onion Rava Dosa


Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma [Recipe]

Upma or Rava Upma is popular and traditional South Indian breakfast dish made with rava and veggies. This savory porridge is very tasty and filling.
★★★★✰
(Rating: 4.4 from 7 reviews)

Prep time 🕐 Cook time 🕐 Total time 🕐
20 mins
Category ☶ Cuisine ♨ Serves ☺
Breakfast Indian 4
Nutrition Info ⊛ Serving size ⊚
155 calories 1 serving

INGREDIENTS

For Upma //
  • 1 cup fine semolina (bombay rava or barik sooji)
  • 2 tablespoons oil or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon ghee (use vegan butter for vegan version)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (jeera) seeds, (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal (split black lentils or split black gram)
  • 1 teaspoon chana dal ( split bengal gram or chickpeas)
  • 3 tablespoons peanuts (or as needed)
  • 8 cashews (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon curry leaves (fresh or dried )
  • a pinch asafoetida or hing (optional)
  • 1 onion, chopped (medium or small)
  • 2 teaspoon green chilies, chopped (or as required)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ginger very finely chopped (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons carrots, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons green peas, frozen or fresh
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
For serving //
  • Lemon wedges
  • Chopped coriander leaves
  • Masala chai (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

How to roast rava (sooji) for upma //
  1. Heat a pan or kadhai, over medium-low heat.
    Image of the cooking step-1-1 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  2. Add rava (semolina) to the pan, and the roast is for 4-5 minutes or until its raw smell goes off and it looks dry, and crunch. It releases a slightly nutty aroma at this point. Do not over roast rava or it might get burn. Transfer roasted rava in a bowl. Let it cool. You can also use the pre-roasted rava to save some time for rushy mornings.
    Image of the cooking step-1-2 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
How to cook Rava Upma Recipe //
  1. In the same pan, heat 3 tablespoons oil / ghee over medium-low heat.
    Image of the cooking step-2-1 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  2. Once hot, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and allow it to crackle.
    Image of the cooking step-2-2 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  3. Now, add chana dal and urad dal and sauté for about 25-30 seconds until they begin to turn lightly golden. Do not burn the lentils.
    Image of the cooking step-2-3 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  4. Then immediately add peanuts and cashew nuts and fry them for another 40-50 seconds, or till they are fragrant and turn light brown. I have added peanuts and cashews both, but you can also use either one of these.
    Image of the cooking step-2-4 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  5. Add curry leaves, and mix well again.
    Image of the cooking step-2-5 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  6. Next, add chopped green chilies, finely chopped ginger and fry for 30 seconds.
    Image of the cooking step-2-6 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  7. Now add chopped onions and sauté until onions are soft and translucent.
    Image of the cooking step-2-7 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  8. Turn the heat to medium-high, and add a pinch of asafoetida, chopped carrots, green peas. Fry on medium-high heat for 1 minute.
    Image of the cooking step-2-8 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  9. Now add, add 3 cups of water and give it a mix. Bring to a boil over high heat.
    Image of the cooking step-2-9 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  10. Once the water comes to a boil, add salt and sugar, and boil for another minute. Now, reduce the heat to low.
    Image of the cooking step-2-10 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  11. Then gradually start adding the roasted rava little at a time to the boiling water, while stirring continuously in one direction with a spatula. Remember to stir continuously to avoid any lumps.
    Image of the cooking step-2-11 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  12. Once mixed, break if there are any lumps. Let it cook for 1 minute so that rava soaks the water.
    Image of the cooking step-2-12 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  13. Cover and cook on a low heat for 2-3 minutes or until the water evaporates. This steam cooking makes the perfect upma recipe.
    Image of the cooking step-2-13 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  14. Once it is done, open the lid and stir again.
    Image of the cooking step-2-14 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  15. Add chopped coriander leaves, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and give it a quick stir.
    Image of the cooking step-2-15 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  16. Add ghee and mix well. Adding ghee gives a nice aroma and rich taste to upma, but this is optional.
    Image of the cooking step-2-16 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  17. Turn off the heat and cover it again with the lid. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
    Image of the cooking step-2-17 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  18. Stir again. Your deliciously soft rava upma recipe is ready to serve.
    Image of the cooking step-2-18 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma
  19. Serve upma warm with a side of coconut chutney, peanut chutney, or pickle, and Masala chai (optional).
    Image of the cooking step-2-19 for Upma Recipe - How to make Rava Upma

WATCH VIDEO:


NOTES:

  1. I generally roast suji without any fat (ghee/ oil). If you want you can roast suji in 1 tablespoon of ghee or oil.
  2. If you are making the vegan version of this upma then simply omit the ghee or add vegan butter.
  3. I have used 2 tablespoons oil for tempering, because it makes upma tasty and also the fat prevents upma from becoming sticky. However, you can always adjust the amount of ghee or oil for this upma recipe.

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