Rava Upma

This well-known South Indian breakfast dish is made from rava (Semolina) – which is a great substitute for rice, it is made from drum wheat, similar to couscous. It has a low glycaemic index (GI) and is a brilliant food for diabetics.

Growing up, I used to have this with Sambhar or some kind of chutney – when I was really little, my Amma used to mix it with sugar (yummy). So the point is, you can have it on its own.

Even my fussy little two-year-old cannot reject the soft grainy texture of the rava mixed with onions, chillies and peas.

So what’ll you need?

1 cup Rava (Semolina)

1 small onion, chopped

1 green chilli, finely chopped

½ inch ginger piece, grated

1tbsp peas

2 cups water

1 tbsp Ghee (optional) – mix in at the end for flavour

For Tempering:

½ tsp Mustard Seeds

1 tsp Urad Dal

A handful of dried or fresh curry leaves

2 tsp vegetable oil


In a frying pan or heavy bottomed pan, dry roast the rava until the raw smell goes but not so it is discoloured (it’ll take a couple of minutes and be hot to the touch). Set aside. If using Roasted Rava, you can skip this step. (See Tip below).

In the same pan, heat oil on a medium flame and add the mustard. Wait until it splutters then add the urad dal and dried curry leaves. Fry for 30 seconds or until the Dal turns a dark shade of pink.

Now add the chopped onion, chillies and ginger. Fry for a couple of minutes until the onion turns translucent.

Now add the roasted rava and peas. Turn off the heat. Mix all the ingredients with a spatula and then add the water. Keep mixing until rava turns into a porridge like consistency.

Stir in the Ghee if using. (Ignore step for Vegan recipe)

Serve with Sambhar or Chutney.

Tip: If you love this, which I think you will, you can do what I do and roast rava in batches and store it in an air tight container ready for next time!

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