Upma [Indian Savory Semolina Porridge]

  • Post last modified:September 15, 2022
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Umpa (Rava Upma) is one of the most common South Indian breakfast that is easy and quick to prepare. Upma is a savory porridge made with semolina and a few basic ingredients. It is filling and nutritious and comes together in under 20 minutes.

Here are some more healthy breakfast recipes that you must try – Poha, Instant Rava Idli, Oats Poha, and Meetha Dalia(Sweet Cracked Wheat Porridge).

 

upma

 

UPMA (RAVA UPMA)

Upma, also known as Rava Upma or Sooji Ka upma is a healthy and delicious South Indian breakfast recipe. Made with dry roasted semolina, onions, fresh ginger, curry leaves, and a few basic ingredients. This savory porridge is easy to make, is delicious, and gets prepared in 20 minutes. It is served as a breakfast or as a light meal.

Traditionally known as Uppumavu, Uppuma, Uppindi, Uppittu, or Upeet, it is served as a breakfast along with Kesari bath (sweet semolina pudding), or with a side of podi or coconut chutney and a must South Indian filter coffee.

Packed with nutrition, this savory semolina porridge comes together in no time and is perfect even for busy mornings, snacking, or pack it for tiffin!

INGREDIENTS FOR UPMA

Rava – Rava, also known as sooji, suji, or semolina. It comes in a variety of thicknesses. For upma, I always use fine sooji or Bombay Rava.

Ghee – Sooji or Rava when roasted in ghee gives this nice aroma and adds a ton of flavor to this simple dish. If you prefer to keep this dish vegan, simply use some neutral oil such as canola or vegetable oil instead of ghee.

For the tempering – I have used basic spices such as mustard seeds, hing, nuts, lentils, and curry leaves to give a nice flavor and crunch to this dish.

Gota urad or whole hulled urad (without the husk), Bengal gram (chana dal), and nuts like cashews or peanuts for some nutrients and added flavor. The addition of these simple ingredients imparts some crunchy texture to this soft upma.

Other ingredients like onions, and fresh ginger, add a mildly sweet, peppery flavor to the upma. I like to keep this upma very simple, just like it’s made in any South Indian homes or restaurants. Feel free to add veggies of your choice. See FAQs for details.

Water – The proportion of Rava to water is important here. I use 3 1/2 cups of water for 1 cup of Rava. This gives me perfect soft upma, just like the way we like it. If you prefer more loose or runny upma, add 4 cups of water.

Pic Shown: Upma [Indian Savory Semolina Porridge]

upma

 

HOW TO MAKE UPMA

Heat ghee in a kadai or a pan. Add 2 tbsp of ghee. When ghee is hot, add the cashews, and roast till slightly brown. Remove it to the plate and set it aside.

In the same kadai, add the sooji. On a low flame roast the sooji for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove the sooji onto the plate and set it aside.

Note: The sooji absorbs the ghee and blooms up when roasted.

Add oil to the kadai. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, and a pinch of asafetida. Allow the seeds to splutter.

Next, add urad dal, and chana dal, and roast until the dal turn light brown.

Add onions, green chili, ginger, and curry leaves and sauté until the onions turn translucent.

Note: Do not brown the onions.

Add water, and salt to taste and bring it to a boil. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the roasted Rava, stirring continuously to avoid any lumps in the mixture.

Sooji will absorb all the liquid and start to thicken and leave the sides of the pan. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover the pan. Simmer the upma for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes turn OFF the heat.

Add a tbsp of ghee, roasted cashews, and lemon juice to taste. Give it a good stir. Garnish with some fresh cilantro and serve immediately.

Pic Shown: Upma [Indian Savory Semolina Porridge]

 

upma

 

TIPS FOR DELICIOUS UMPA

ROAST THE RAVA WELL

The Rava (sooji) must be roasted well. When roasted, Rava does not change color. It swells up and gives a nice aroma.

Roast the Rava (sooji) on medium-low heat. Do not roast the Rava (sooji) on high flame. Be patient, this process takes time. Keep stirring frequently to avoid any uneven roasting of the Rava (sooji).

STIR CONTINUOUSLY TO AVOID LUMPS

The Rava (sooji) absorbs the liquid very quickly. Stir continuously to avoid any lumps when adding Rava (sooji) to the boiling water.

CURRY LEAVES FOR AROMA

Curry leaves give a pleasant flavor and aroma to the upma. You can skip it if you don’t like it or can’t find it.

USE GREEN CHILI FOR HEAT

I used Thai green chili, as we like upma spicy. You can use any milder chili, such as serrano, or entirely skip it.

Cashew nuts add a nice crunch to the upma. Feel free to add nuts of your choice, or skip it to make it nut-free.

I use raw nuts, and lightly roast them in the ghee. You can use roasted cashews or peanuts in the recipe.

LEMON JUICE FOR FRESHNESS

Lastly, don’t forget to drizzle some freshly squeezed lemon juice. It adds a refreshing flavor to this dish.

FAQs

WHAT TYPE OF RAVA TO USE

Use the fine variety of Rava (sooji) for making upma. Make sure the Rava (sooji) is fresh, has not gone bad, and does not have any insects or mold.

You can tell if the Rava (sooji) has gone bad if it smells weird (rancid) and may have tiny white insects. Some of the sooji may get clumped up, which means it has gone bad. Do not use it.

CAN I DOUBLE THE RECIPE

You can scale up or scale down the recipe. Simply half or double the quantity.

HOW TO MAKE UPMA VEGAN

Ghee is used in very small quantities for some flavor and nutrients. To make it vegan, skip the ghee and use any neutral oil like canola oil or vegetable oil.

MY UPMA TASTES RAW

If the Rava (sooji) is not roasted well, the upma will taste raw. Roast the sooji, till it turns aromatic.

CAN I ADD SOME OTHER NUTS

Nuts add a nice crunch and flavor to the upma. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, or seeds like pumpkin seeds add a great flavor. Feel free to add nuts of your choice.

Pic Shown: Upma [Indian Savory Semolina Porridge]

 

upma

 

CAN I MAKE-AHEAD UPMA

Upma tastes best when served immediately. Rava absorbs the liquid and turns dry very quickly. If making the upma ahead of time, reheat the upma with some water to soften it and serve immediately.

CAN I ADD OTHER VEGGIES

You can use veggies of your choice. Potatoes, carrots, green beans, and corn add great flavor to this dish.

For the potatoes, take 1 medium-size potato. Peel and chop into small pieces. Add the potatoes, and salt to taste, and mix. Cover and cook the potatoes 95%. Next, add onions. Follow the rest of the recipe.

Alternatively, you can add boiled, cubed potatoes after the onions are translucent.

Other veggies: Add fresh or frozen carrots, green beans, or corn along with green peas. Follow the recipe.

CAN I MAKE IT NUT-FREE

Simply, omit the nuts to make this dish nut-free.

CAN I ADD SEEDS

Pumpkin seeds can be added for additional flavor and nutrient value.

Toss the seeds at the end and serve. I like to toast them first.

WHERE CAN I BUY CURRY LEAVES

Curry leaves are available in most Asian or Indian grocery stores or online on Amazon. You can find fresh or dried curry leaves online, and either can be used.

WHAT IS HING [ASAFETIDA]

Hing (Asafetida) is a spice, a common ingredient found in Indian kitchens. It naturally has a strong and pungent smell and is yellow. Asafetida comes in powdered or granulated form. It is often used in lentils and beans as it helps with digestion.

HOW TO SERVE UPMA

It is best served with coconut chutney and a hot cup of Filter Coffee. For a change try my Mysore Masala Red Chutney or Walnut coconut chutney with the upma.

I like to enjoy my upma with some lemon pickle and adrak wali chai (ginger tea).

STORAGE SUGGESTIONS

Rava upma tastes best served immediately. If you have leftovers or would like to make it ahead, simply store it in an airtight container. Upma stays good for 2-3 days.

Upon refrigeration, upma tends to dry, so before reheating the upma add a splash of water. You can reheat it in a pan on a stove or in a microwave until nice and warm.

TRIED THIS RECIPE?

Hope you enjoy this Rava Upma Recipe!! If you give this recipe a try, please rate the recipe by clicking the stars ⭐️ on the recipe card. Leave a comment and share your experience. Thank you ❤️ You can also follow me on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for all the latest on my blog!! Subscribe to my Youtube Channel for easy and delicious video recipes. Happy Cooking!!

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upma

Upma [Indian Savory Semolina Porridge]

Jyoti Behrani
Upma is a savory porridge made with semolina and a few basic ingredients. It is filling and nutritious and comes together in under 20 minutes.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast/Brunch
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

INGREDIENTS FOR UPMA

    FOR ROASTING SOOJI

    • 1 cup fine sooji or Bombay Rava
    • 2 tbsp ghee; For vegan, use a neutral oil

    FOR UPMA

    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1/4 inch ginger, chopped
    • 1-2 green chili, chopped; adjust to taste
    • 1 sprig of curry leaves
    • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
    • 2 tsp gota urad / whole hulled urad
    • 2 tsp chana dal/ Bengal gram
    • 2 tbsp canola oil or other neutral oil
    • pinch of hing (asafetida)
    • 3 1/2 – 4 cups water; For soft upma, use 4 cups of water
    • salt to taste

    FOR GARNISH

    • 1 tbsp ghee; For vegan, skip ghee
    • 8-10 whole cashew, cut into half
    • 1-2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
    • lemon wedges

    Instructions
     

    DIRECTIONS FOR UPMA [INDIAN SAVORY SEMOLINA PORRIDGE]

    • Heat ghee in a kadai or a pan. Add 2 tbsp of ghee. When ghee is hot, add the cashews, and roast till slightly brown. Remove it to the plate and set it aside.
    • In the same kadai, add the sooji. On a low flame roast the sooji for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove the sooji onto the plate and set it aside.
      Note: The sooji absorbs the ghee and blooms up when roasted.
    • Add oil to the kadai. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, and a pinch of asafetida. Allow the seeds to splutter.
    • Next, add urad dal, and chana dal, and roast until the dal turn light brown.
    • Add onions, green chili, ginger, and curry leaves and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
      Note: Do not brown the onions.
    • Add water, and salt to taste and bring it to a boil. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the roasted Rava, stirring continuously to avoid any lumps in the mixture.
    • Sooji will absorb all the liquid and start to thicken and leave the sides of the pan. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover the pan. Simmer the upma for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes turn OFF the heat.
    • Add a tbsp of ghee, roasted cashews, and lemon juice to taste. Give it a good stir. Garnish with some fresh cilantro and serve immediately.

    Notes

    Please refer to the post for the following:
    1. Tips For Delicious Upma
    2. FAQs

    Disclaimer

    Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.

    Keyword rava upma, restaurant style upma recipe, semolina recipes, simple upma recipe, sooji upma recipe, upma, upma in english, upma ingredients, upma recipe, upma water ratio
    Tried this recipe?Mention @livingsmartandhealthy or tag #livingsmartandhealthy
    Subscribe to my YouTube Channel!Check out Living Smart And Healthy!

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    This Post Has 10 Comments

    1. Jamie

      5 stars
      I love how quickly this semolina porridge came together! It was a satisfying meal that my whole family loved!

    2. Carrie Robinson

      5 stars
      I had not heard of this dish before, but I am loving the idea of a savory porridge for breakfast. 🙂 Looks delicious!

      1. Jyoti Behrani

        It’s a very easy and a delicious breakfast. Hope you like it:)

    3. Anjali

      5 stars
      I love upma but I haven’t had it in forever and had no idea how to make it at home! Thanks to your recipe I can bring back one of my childhood favorites to my breakfast table every week!

      1. Jyoti Behrani

        Yes, I too grew up eating upma almost every week. It’s so easy and delicious breakfast. Glad you like it:)

    4. Aimee Mars

      5 stars
      Adding the ghee was so spot on for me! Delicious meal and will be making again!

    5. Shashi

      Upma is one of my moms favorite dishes and she loved your version so much! Delicious.

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