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Breakfast, Snacks, South Indian Dishes

RAVA UPMA – The Simple Rava Upma/Uppumavu shows the way

As you go through life in its wonderful journey of ups and downs, every experience contributes to the learning curve of this fascinating landscape. My first experience of real cooking was when we had guests come over at our new home. I went through the recipe books my mother had given me and decided that the simple uppuma was the best bet. It did not need pre soaking, kneading or grinding and therefore ideal. What turned out was a lumpy mass, which was tucked in with such relish by my husband that our guests followed suit!

It was a good learning experience and taught me that you need to hone your skills with practice and preparation. It also taught me that there is no such thing as a simple dish! I dedicate this recipe to my husband who also professes to be an expert of sort in this particular dish.

Upma is usually taken for breakfast. This quick and easy rava preparation, the simple uppuma is also a good tea-time snack option.


Preparation time: 10 mins       Cook time: 15 mins                        Serves: 4


  1.  Rava / Semolina – 2 cups
  2. Water  –  5.5 cups
  3. Ginger – 2 inches long (finely chopped)
  4. Onion – 1 (finely chopped)
  5. Green chillies – 2 (finely chopped)
  6. Mustard seeds – 1 .5 tsp
  7. Urud dal – 1.5 tsp
  8. Red chilli – 1
  9. Curry leaves – 2 stalks
  10. Coconut oil /Refined oil – 2 tbsp
  11. Ghee/Oil – Half Tsp
  12. Salt – To taste

II. Method of preparation:

  1. In low heat, dry roast rava in a heavy pan  till an aroma emanates. Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add mustard and urad dal.
  3. When mustard splutters and urad dal turns brown, add red chilli – torn in two and curry leaves. Saute.
  4. Add onions, ginger and green chillies. Saute for 5 minutes, till onions are soft and golden. Now add reserved water and salt.
  5. When water boils, add salt, adjust to low heat. Gently add rava, little at a time, stirring constantly.  Cover pan.
  6.  When water absorbs, mix well and keep covered in low flame for 5 minutes. Now  upma should be thick,soft and fluffy not dry, lumpy or watery. Taste, adjust seasoning and take off heat.
  7. Pour 1/2  tbsp of coconut oil or ghee over the upma and mix well. At this stage you can add freshly grated coconut or the juice of half a lime or garnish with fresh, finely cut coriander leaves. (optional) Serve hot with fresh coconut chutney / pickle/ pappad / banana or just sugar. Upma/ Uppumavu is ready to eat.


  1.  Opt for large mustard seeds since the tiny ones burn fast. 
  2. Instead of coconut oil, ghee or other oils can be used.
  3. If you wish, chopped vegetables (grated carrots,tomatoes, finely chopped beans, boiled peas), grated coconut, can be added before adding water.
  4. Coarser grained rava will need more water
  5. There are many versions to upma, depending on the cooks imagination.

About Paddy

When I married and came to Bangalore, it was a real ‘Pensioners’ Paradise.’ The climate was as today’s generation would say – ‘Awesome’. It was cool and pleasant throughout the year. My parents cautioned me to keep warm and have given me the loveliest Kashmir shawls, which I treasure to this day. Since I could not distinguish between rice and dal, cooking was an uphill task. I had a cook from Kerala, but the cold weather did not suit her and in a month’s time, she went back. Looking back, I have come a long way now… Cooking for me has metamorphosed from a daily routine of making edible and nutritious food for my family to an exciting journey of creativity by experimenting with different flavors and ingredients. To me, food is not only for nourishment and sustenance. Its taste and flavors take us back to our good times too. Food is nostalgia and comfort. It brings home our culture. Food is a treat and nourishment for the soul too. I dedicate this blog to my parents, who instilled in me a strong sense of ethics and discipline, and whose affection, love and support gives me strength in this journey of life. I feel the need of today’s generation, who come away from their homes and crave for home cooked food. To you too, I dedicate this blog, where I will share the recipes that I have learnt and grown to love over the years.


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