Upma Recipe: Upma is a spicy South Indian breakfast dish made with rava or cream of wheat.This traditional dish is made by cooking roasted rava in water flavoured with ghee (or oil), cashews, urad dal (lentils), chana dal (husked chickpeas), onion, ginger, and other herbs and spices. For a mildly sweet and savoury dish, add sugar.
This steaming hot breakfast dish can be made vegan by substituting oil for the ghee. This upma is full of warmth, flavour, and deliciousness. So, instead of eating the same old oatmeal, why not try something new? You can’t go wrong!
Rava is the main ingredient in any upma recipe. It is simply granulated wheat, also known as ‘suji’ in Hindi and ‘cream of wheat’ or ‘semolina’ in English.
All of the fried ingredients used for tempering are what truly distinguishes an upma breakfast dish. These ingredients vary depending on the recipe, but they typically include sweet, savoury, and nutty flavours.
In Bangalore, Karnataka, this combination is also known as chow chow bath and is a popular breakfast served in morning tiffin centres. In addition, the upma is served with a selection of chutneys. It could be something as simple as coconut chutney, peanut chutney, or onion tomato chutney. However, in Udupi hotels, it can be served with khara avalakki, also known as sajjige bajil.
While this is one of the simplest rava breakfast recipes, I’d like to share a few tips for making the perfect rava upma. First, lightly toast the rava without turning it golden. Second, add the rava only after the water has begun to boil vigorously; otherwise, the rava will form lumps. Finally, simmer while adding the rava; otherwise, the rava will not be uniformly cooked and will form lumps in the upma.
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Upma Recipe Card:
- 1 cup bombay rava / semolina / sooji
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp mustard / rai / sasuve
- 1/2 tsp chana dal
- 1/2 tsp urad dal
- 1 dried red chilli
- few curry leaves
- 1/2 onion (finely chopped
- 2 green chilli (finely chopped)
- 1 inch ginger (finely chopped)
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ghee / clarified butter
- 1/2 lemon juice
- 2 tbsp coriander (finely chopped)
- First, dry roast 1 cup bombay rava for 2-3 minutes on low heat. Set aside to completely cool.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large kadai and add 1 tsp mustard, 1/2 tsp urad dal, 1 dried red chilli, and a few curry leaves. For added flavour, add jeera.
- Sauté until the mustard seeds sputter.
- 1/2 onion should be sautéed.
- 2 green chilies and 1 inch ginger should also be sautéed.
- Pour in 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.
- 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp ghee Combine thoroughly.
- Keeping the flame low, slowly add the roasted rava while stirring continuously with the other hand.
- This aids in the prevention of lump formation.
- Now, continue to mix until the rava absorbs the water.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes, or until the upma is thoroughly cooked.
- Add 1/2 lemon juice and 2 tbsp coriander leaves as well. Combine thoroughly.
- Finally, serve the rava upma / uppittu plain or with coconut chutney.
- Roasting rava: The rava must be evenly roasted. This requires frequent stirring of the rava on a low or medium-low heat of the pan. Look for signs of colour change and rava granules that are separate, crisp, and have a nice toasted aroma.
- Adding rava in batches: Add rava to hot water in batches at all times. After each batch, evenly mix the rava with the water. This ensures that your upma turns out smooth and soft.
- To avoid lumpy and sticky upma: add rava in batches and thoroughly mix each batch with the water. For this recipe, make sure to use fine rava. If you use a coarser rava, you will need to add more water to keep it from becoming lumpy. The upma will become sticky if the rava is not properly roasted.
- Oil or ghee: Either oil or ghee can be used to make upma. However, the upma tastes better with ghee. When serving upma, you can even drizzle it with ghee.
- Rava and water proportions: For a softer rava upma, use a rava-to-water ratio of 1:2.5 or 3. That is, for 1 cup of fine rava, you can add 2.5 to 3 cups of water.
- Suggestions for serving: Upma is best served hot or warm. You can serve it with some sev or bhujia and a drizzle of lemon juice on top. Upma can also be served with coconut chutney, lemon pickle, or idli podi.
- Scaling and storing: This recipe can easily be halved or doubled. Leftover upma can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. You can even put it in the freezer. Sprinkle some water on top of the upma and reheat in a pan or microwave.
What exactly is rava?
Rava is coarsely ground wheat that has been finely or semi-finely ground. It does not have a floury texture, but rather a fine grainy texture. In English, rava is also known as cream of wheat, farina, or semolina flour.
I have access to a wide range of rava varieties, including Kesari rava, Idli rava, and Bombay rava. Which one should I use to make upma?
Use Kesari rava or Bombay rava, both of which are excellent varieties of rava. Idli rava is a type of rava that is used to make idlis.
How do you prepare ragi rava upma?
Separately roast the rava and ragi flour. Follow the steps in this recipe. When the water begins to boil, add the rava and ragi. The amount of water required will vary depending on the amount of ragi and rava used. Roast ragi thoroughly because undercooked ragi can cause stomach aches.
Can I include vegetables?
You certainly can. Examine the method I’ve listed in the following question
How do you make a vegetable upma?
Alternatively, steam the vegetables separately and then add after the rava has been mixed with the water. Alternatively, after sautéing the onions, add the vegetables (grated carrots, green peas, grated potatoes, finely chopped french beans, chopped capsicum) and continue to sauté until lightly golden. Follow the recipe by adding water. Grated coconut can be sprinkled on top of the upma.
Can I include tomatoes?
Tomatoes can be added. When the onions have softened, add them. Then, continue to cook until the tomatoes soften.
Can I include peanuts?
Yes, you can include peanuts. Separately fry or roast the peanuts and serve as a topping or garnish on the upma.
Can I omit the green chilies?
You certainly can. In place of the green chillies, some crushed black pepper can be added.
Why has my upma become lumpy?
When the rava is not thoroughly mixed with the water, the upma becomes lumpy. So add the rava in batches and evenly mix each batch of rava in the water. For this recipe, make sure to use fine rava. If you use a coarser rava, you will need to add more water to prevent the upma from becoming lumpy.
Why is my upma sticky?
Rava must be thoroughly roasted. The upma will become sticky if the rava is not properly roasted.
What is the difference between urad dal and chana dal, and what are their English names?
In English, chana dal is known as Bengal gramme. These are lentils made from black chickpeas. Urad dal is also known as black lentils or white lentils. They have the same shape as mung beans, but the husk is black and the lentils are white. It’s also known as vigna mungo or black matpe beans.
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