Rava Upma (Savory Semolina Pudding)

By DK on May 09, 2009
Rava Upma | Rava Uppittu Recipe | South Indian Recipes
The very thought of this pudding makes me nostalgic. The number of times I would have enjoyed these during my growing up years is innumerable. One of the most basic'est dishes to make when it comes to South Indian foods. This is was the dish that my mother taught me first when I started cooking.
Rava Upma | Rava Uppittu Recipe | South Indian Recipes
Its mostly made during breakfast but many families, including mine, enjoy it as a Tiffin item too. You can make this substantial easily by adding any Indian veggies you like. I mention Indian specifically 'cos if you were like me you would try to experiment with non Indian veggies like water chestnuts and asparagus (few others I dare not mention!) and the probability of you clutching your throat and lamenting your "creativity" after that first bite might follow right behind. But hey, if that works for you - go ahead! We have the right to our own distinct palates after all :)
Rava Upma | Rava Uppittu Recipe | South Indian Recipes
The classic Rava Upma has the simplest of ingredients, gets done in a jiffy and is light on the stomach. I follow my mother's recipe which is as basic as it can get. Refer my Tips section for the kind of veggies you can add to this.

my mom's recipe

Basic Information
Prep Time: Under 15 min
Cook Time: Under 15 min
Serves: 2 people
  • 1 cup Semolina (not semolina flour)
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Ghee (optional)
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Black Gram Dal (urad dal)
  • 1/8 tsp Asafoetida
  • 1 dried Red chili
  • 1 green chili, thinly sliced, or as per taste (optional)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger (abt 1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped finely)
  • 1 tbsp Cashews, or as per taste, broken
  • Salt to taste
  • Curry Leaves and Cilantro to garnish
Variation: Make this a full meal by adding vegetables. Veggies like Onion, Potato, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Tomato, Green Beans and Peas make great additions. If you have frozen veggies, then your life gets even simpler. I have a packet of frozen veggies with an assortment of carrot, peas, green beans, corn and lima beans that I tend to add when short on time. A quick saute of onions at Step 2 (after the tempering is done), followed by the frozen veggies. A quick stir for a minute or two and then continue with step 3.
Heat 1 tsp of ghee and roast the semolina in a skillet until aromatic and toasted. For a vegan version, you can sub the Ghee with oil. But you can skip the oil if cutting calories and dry roast it instead too.
Rava Upma
While that's roasting on the side, heat another pan. I do this to reduce the cooking time. Heat the remaining 2 tsp oil and then add the mustard seeds. When it starts popping, add the asafoetida, cashews, ginger, urad dal and red chillies (along with green chilies if using). When the urad dad starts browning, add the curry leaves. All this together would take around 2 minutes on low-medium heat.
Rava Upma
Now Increase heat to high and add 2 cups of water. Here I have to mention that though my mother always added 2 cups of water, I find personally that 2-1/2 cups works best for me. I am not sure if its the quality of semolina that I get here or the humidity (i.e the lack of it) or my electric stove top that is the reason. Start off with 2 cups and you can increase it the next time around if you find your pudding dry.
Rava Upma
Add salt once the water comes to a boil - about 3 to 4 minutes. For the beginner cook who is not sure of the amount of salt, I would suggest adding little and taste the water. Better err on the side of less than more.
Rava Upma
Reduce the heat to medium and the roasted semolina to the boiling water.
Rava Upma
I know its not as obvious in the photo, but you need to keep the stirring going with your right hand while you pour the semolina with the left.
Rava Upma
Keep the stirring action going otherwise it will form lumps. This little physical extortion is necessary for that smooth velvety texture.
Rava Upma
You know its done when the semolina comes together into a mass without sticking to the pan. If it continues to stick, cook further for few more seconds. This process should take around another 3 minutes.
Rava Upma
For an extra special treat, right at this moment when its almost done, sprinkle some ghee on top and stir one more time. The aroma and the taste that the ghee imparts is heavenly. But its optional and can be skipped.
Rava Upma
Let it sit for a minute closed with a lid and garnish with cilantro.
Rava Upma
Serve hot just as it is or with an assortment of South Indian chutneys like Coconut Chutney, Tomato Chutney and/or Sambar Rava Upma | Rava Uppittu Recipe | South Indian Recipes
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25 Responses to “Rava Upma (Savory Semolina Pudding)”
  1. Thanks!Alka! U r too superb! Loved your presentation!

  2. Darshana

    Hi; I love Upma very much.
    Also like this recipe coz essay
    & timeless.

  3. Shagy

    I just love this virtual kitchen. As a ‘newcomer’ t the kitchen and whenever I want to try something new, my hands automatically type chefinyou.com. The recepies r simply awesome. What makes the site more special is those pics along with the recipe. They make life easier. The first recipe i tried was the “maladoo”. Which was superlicious :lol: . Looking forward to try all the dishes whenever i can :)

  4. harjinder

    Excellent presentation. ….. :) …..keep it up♡♥★☆☆

  5. Nice step by step photos, really easy to follow. The upma looks delicious too. You can see pictures of upma being made on my blog, if you are interested: http://mangosoup.blogspot.com/2009/08/semolina-upma.html

  6. this looks really good…nice photographs…keep posting

  7. Nom nom nom nom nom. I can eat these non-stop. I use semolina to make Middle Eastern date cookies. And I can imagine yours to be really tasty. I tried to look real hard what semolina look like. I kind I use is grainy, like closer to fine sugar texture. Is it similar to your semolina?

    You have a beautiful blog!

    Hi Audrey, thanks for your generous comment. Drat! I was going to post a pic of how semolina looked like and last minute changed my mind. Anyways here is the link http://media.photobucket.com/image/semolina/bour3/things%20I%20made%20then%20ate/semolina.jpg. I will upload the pic later and when I do – will keep you posted :) Hope this helps–DK

  8. I never knew our simple plain old upma can look this beautiful!

    Thanks dear :)

  9. Comfort food! Very beautiful presentation!

    Thanks Divs

  10. Love your new site, DK! Fried cashew in upma sounds great!

    Thank you Vani :)

  11. I saw your blog from BCA,Delicious , Keep up writing. Now A vote for your Blog in BCA2009. I invite your valuable visit and suggestions about my Business Blog
    , I have suggested your site to my frnds like RAKESH, DANATY, Fengshui
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  12. Lovely Virtual kitchen of yours, congrats for the new one :-)
    Upma is such a regular thing at our home ,but we make it somewhat in a diff. way, i mean sans urad dal ,hing and cashews, but instead some onion, carrots ,beans, peas and sometimes even capsicum.Also we boil the water separately and add semolina in the cooked veggies and then keep adding boiled water till mushy stuff is obtained and then simmer it till dry
    Sorry i got carried away and wrote the whole recipe….lolz
    But i am amazed that such popular dishes too have so many of variations and i completely agree with u, that it depends a hell lot on people who cook,that how the food will taste.My mom makes wonders with even the most bland stuff, and there are others in family who makes even the most awesome veggies taste like metals ;-)

    Thanks Alka :) Yes, variations for most of our popular dishes is mind boggling. Yes I make this upma with vegetables too, but sometimes I just crave for something downright basic and that’s the time this type is just heavenly. Yes, my mother had that talent too – a pinch of this, a smudge of that and tada! a delicious dish ready :) Mothers what do we do without them :)

  13. you make a very good point about flavor..and i love how youve plated and presented this dish!

  14. Awesome presentation of the Upma DK. We love upma at home and I jazz it up with veggies as well.

  15. nice and simple comfort food… this is a to-the-rescue dish in our home when guests come over… My mom prepares this for such situations :)

  16. Sometimes even we prepare upma only with simple tadka n green chillies which tastes wonderful..loved ur upma balls..

  17. Gita Jaishankar

    Great photos, it looks delicious, this is our favorite weekend breakfast :)

  18. Oh wow new space for the blog looks gr8…..You have done good makeover too……Upma looks droolworthy….Nice entry…

  19. Congrats! The new site looks great. As always wonderful presentation and pretty pictures put together beautifully!!


  20. My all time fav snack. Loved step by step pics.

  21. My all time fav snack. Nice step by step presentation! :)

  22. I love upma…and addition of cashewnuts and spices is fab..this is for sure a winner :)

  23. I make it exactly the same way except for the addition of the ghee in the end. I can imagine it taking the dish to the next level ;)

    I dont always put the ghee ..but on rare occasions when I am feeling “evil” I do! heheh

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