Upma is a widely popular Indian breakfast dish that is made by roasting, and then flavoring sooji / rava (semolina in English), with ingredients that suit the taste buds of the region.
In south India, it is commonly flavored with mustard seeds, curry leaves & garnished with grated coconuts. In western & northern parts of India there are some variations that use nuts & garnish with coriander leaves.
In this post, I am sharing my go-to Upma recipe, which is commonly known as Rulaav in Konkani cuisine, and is a staple Konkani breakfast dish.
And because I prefer soft Upma, I have shared tips on how to make upma soft and fluffy by adjusting the sooji rava to water ratio for upma.
Finally, I have also shared ideas on a few variations of this recipe using different flavorings and garnish.
How to Prepare Upma
1. In a pan, lightly heat up the ghee, and add in the urad dal.
2. Roast the urad dal for a minute, then add in the mustard seeds, and roast for 1-2 minutes till the mustard seeds start popping.
3. Then add in the green chilli and curry leaves, and let them roast for a couple of minutes.
4. Now add the chopped ginger & saute for 3-4 minutes till it’s roasted well.
5. Once the ginger is well roasted, add in the sooji rava, and mix everything well.
6. On a medium flame, saute the rava till it gets well roasted & turns dark cream, lightly golden in color.
7. The time it takes to roast the rava will vary depending on the quantity, type & texture of the rava, but ensure to keep stirring while the rava is getting roasted to get an even roast & avoid it getting brown or burnt.
8. Once you’ve roasted the rava, add the salt & sugar, and mix everything together.
9. Then lower the flame (or even turn it off) for a bit, and slowly add in hot boiling water to the roasted rava, all the while stirring continuously.
10. This is optional, but at this point, while the rava is in the process of solidifying, you can add in the grated coconut.
11. You can then turn the flame back on or increase it back to medium heat and keep stirring lightly to blend everything together.
12. Once the rava soaks up all the excess moisture & starts leaving ghee on the sides, the upma is ready to serve.
Upma is best paired with a hot beverage of your choice, coconut / peanut chutney or crisps.
I personally love to pair Upma with a hot steaming cup of adrak chai, and crisps like sev or sometimes just chips.
1. The time it takes to roast rava / semolina will depend on the type of rava & the size of granules. Thicker granules will take longer to roast as compared to finer granules.
2. You can use pre-roasted rava from the market instead of using regular raw sooji rava. It will cut down your roasting time drastically, because you only need to roast the pre-roasted rava for 1-2 mins, mostly to warm it up.
3. If you want to cut down on the time for making upma but do not want to use pre-roasted rava from the market, then you can pre-roast the rava you need for the week at home, and store it in an air-tight container for the week.
4. While roasting the rava, it’s important to keep stirring intermittently, to ensure it gets an even roast, and doesn’t brown or burn.
5. When you add the hot boiling water to the roasted rava, it will cause a lot of splatter. But you can avoid the splatter mess by either lowering or turning off the flame while adding water and maybe holding a splatter screen on top.
Tips for Making Good Upma
1. The key to making a good upma lies in the rava / semolina to water ratio. Using less water results in hard upma, and adding more water gives a soft fluffy texture to upma, which is more widely loved.
2. It’s equally important to roast the rava really well. Which is why it’s best to roast it on a medium flame, stirring intermittently, to ensure that it gets an even roast, without getting brown or burnt.
3. You also do not want to under-roast the rava, and wait till it turns a dark cream / light golden color before you add salt & sugar. Because otherwise you will be able to taste the rawness.
4. Using ghee instead of oil to roast the rava will add an extra boost of flavorful deliciousness to your upma.
5. Upma is best served and eaten warm, because the longer you keep it, the more moisture it loses, and dries out.
Variations to this Upma Recipe
I have flavored & garnished the Upma using ingredients common to South India. You can choose to flavor your Upma with cashew nuts, onions, tomatoes and vegetables of your choice.
However if you are adding onions, tomatoes, and veggies, it’s best to add them right after the tadka, and roast them before adding the rava.
You can also choose to garnish with chopped coriander instead of grated coconut.
How to Make Soft Fluffy Upma
The one variable that determines how soft and fluffy any upma is, is the ratio of water to rava/semolina.
After starting at 2:1 and increasing incrementally, I have found that 3:1 water to semolina is the perfect ratio for achieving the soft, fluffy, melt-in-mouth texture of upma every single time.
More Indian Breakfast Recipes:
Kanda Poha Recipe
Misal Pav Recipe
This recipe has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in 2019.
Upma Recipe | Rava Upma | Sooji Upma | Konkani Rulaav
- In a pan, heat up the ghee, and add in urad dal. Let it roast for 1 minute, before you add the mustard seeds.
- Then add in the mustard seeds, and roast them for 1-2 mins till they start popping.
- Next add green chilli, and curry leaves, and let them roast for 1-2 mins.
- Then add in chopped ginger, and saute for 3-4 mins, till the ginger is well roasted.
- Once that is done, add the sooji rava / semolina, and saute on medium flame, stirring intermittently, till the sooji rava is roasted well, and changes color to dark cream/ light golden.
- The time it takes to roast the semolina varies based on the quality of semolina. But it usually takes me 5-10 mins on average.
- Once the semolina is roasted, add in salt and sugar, and mix well.
- Then, lowering the flame (or even turning it off) for a bit, add in the hot boiling water, and keep stirring continuously, while the semolina soaks up the water.
- This is optional, but if you like, at this point, as the semolina is in the process of solidifying, you can also add in 1/4 cup grated coconut.
- Once the semolina soaks up all the excess moisture, and starts leaving ghee on the sides, turn off the gas, as the upma is ready to serve.
- The time for roasting sooji rava / semolina will vary, depending on the type of semolina & size of granules. Thicker granules will require longer cooking/roasting time.
- It’s important to keep stirring while the semolina is getting roasted, to avoid it getting burnt, and ensuring it gets an even roast.
- When you add the hot boiling water to the roasted semolina, it will cause a lot of splatter. So ensure to lower the flame (or even switch it off) for a bit, and maybe hold a splatter screen on top to contain the splatter.
- If you prefer your upma on the harder side, you can go with 2 or 2.5 cups of water to 1 cup of semolina, instead of the 3:1 ratio that I used here.
- You can substitute ghee with oil. I prefer ghee because it tastes better to me.
- You can use pre-roasted semolina from the market instead of raw semolina. It will cut down your roasting time to 1-2 mins instead of 5-10 mins on medium flame.
- If you want to cut down on time for making upma but not use pre-roasted semolina from the market, then you can roast the semolina you need for the week at home, and store it in an air-tight container for the week.
- You can choose to flavor with cashew nuts, onions, tomatoes & veggies of your choice by roasting them in the same pan, right after the tadka/tempering and before adding the semolina.
- You can garnish with chopped coriander leaves instead of grated coconut.
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