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Rava Upma | Upma recipe is a quick & easy South Indian breakfast made with semolina flour, onions, spices, nuts, cilantro, and lemon juice.

Rava Upma
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Growing up my mom prepared Rava Upma quite often for breakfast. Although this dish is a popular South Indian breakfast, it is widely popular all over North India as well.

Truthfully speaking, I was never a fan of Upma because my mom made Vegetable Upma – North Indian style with a ton of veggies and no curry pata. I know it probably sounds okay to you, but it was seriously so bland and boring. Lol.

It was not until I met my best friend, Anu, whose parents are originally from Andhra Pradesh that I had a taste of real South Indian style Upma with minimal veggies and South Indian spices. 

Other Indian Breakfast dishes you may enjoy are Aloo Poha, Bread Poha, Rava Uttapam, and Zucchini Carrot Besan Puda.



What is Rava Upma?

Rava Upma is a traditional South Indian breakfast dish that’s popular all over India. It’s made with suji/rava which is known as semolina flour in English and it’s similar to a savory porridge. Rava Upma is also known as Sooji Upma or Suji Upma.

This easy upma recipe is simple, yet bursting with flavor as it’s prepared with mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, green chillies, and curry leaves.

There are absolutely no Indian spice powders used in this recipe, except asafoetida (hing). The whole spices add a ton of flavor to this dish so you don’t need to add any additional masalas.

Rava Upma serving

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Quick & Easy
  • Delicious South Indian Breakfast
  • The Perfect Weekend Brunch
  • Comforting
  • Satisfying
  • Vegan

Ingredients

Suji/Rava: Suji/Rava is also called semolina flour. Make sure to look for fine semolina. The suji will need to be dry-roasted first before adding it to hot water.

Spices: Mustard Seeds, Chana Dal, Urad Dal, Asafoetida (hing).

Curry Leaves: Fresh curry pata or curry leaves add so much flavor to this dish.

Cashew Nuts: Roughly chop the cashews.

Fresh Cilantro: Fresh cilantro towards the end.

Veggies: Ginger, Onion, Peas, Green Chilies.

Lemon Juice: Make sure you use fresh lemon juice.

Water: Bring water to a rolling boil before adding the semolina flour.

Salt: You’ll need a decent amount of salt to season the dish.


How to Make Rava Upma Recipe – Step by Step Instructions?

Roast the Rava/Suji

1. Heat up a nonstick pan on low-medium heat.

2. Add rava to a nonstick pan and dry roast until it is fragrant, toasty, and golden brown. Make sure you don’t brown the rava. This should take a few minutes. Remove rava from the pan and set aside. Your dry roast sooji is ready.

Roast Suji / Roast Rava

Prep the Ingredients

1. Chop the onions, ginger, and cashews. Slice green chilies. Rinse frozen peas under warm water, drain, and set aside. Set aside curry leaves, chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds, and hing. 

Upma | Rava Upma (vegan)

Cook

1. Heat up a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add oil, followed by mustard seeds (rye). Saute for about 30 seconds. 

2. Add chana dal and urad dal. Saute for another 30 seconds.

3. Add asafoetida (hing). Saute for 30 seconds.

4. Now add ginger, cashews, and curry leaves. Saute for a minute.

Saute Upma Spices

5. Add onions and salt. Saute for 3 minutes or so until the onions are translucent. Do not brown the onions, we simply want them to be translucent.

6. Add green peas. Saute for a minute.

7. Now add water and salt.

8. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 4-5 minutes.

Cook Onions and Peas for Upma

9. The water should come to a rolling boil.

10. Now add rava/suji a little at a time and stir at the same time. Doing so will prevent any lumps. 

11. This is what you’ll have once the rava/suji has been incorporated with the water. It’ll look smooth and creamy.

12. Cook the upma on a low flame for a couple of minutes. Add fresh coriander leaves and lemon juice. Adjust salt. Mix well. You’ll end up with crumbly and fluffy upma as the moisture gets absorbed. 

Add Upma and Cook

13. Pefect Rava Upma. Enjoy with yogurt and achaar.

Upma Recipe

Serving Suggestions

Growing up, my mom always served upma with yogurt, I guess it’s a Punjabi thing. So yeah, I love eating my South Indian style upma with yogurt and achaar.

You can also serve Rava Upma with coconut chutney or Cilantro Chutney.

This delicious South Indian brunch goes well with a cup of Masala Chai or filter coffee.


Storage

Leftover upma can be stored in an airtight container and it’ll stay fresh in the fridge for the following 2 days. I find that upma tastes even better the next day as it becomes crumblier and it still has moisture. 


Tips On Making The Best Rava Upma

  • Dry roast the rava/suji first. Do not brown the rava/suji, but it should be dry and toasty.
  • Prep your ingredients – chop the veggies. Set everything aside as you’ll need to work quickly.
  • Cook the upma as per the directions.
  • I recommend using a 1:3 ratio of rava/suji to water.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I make this recipe vegan, gluten-free?

Upma is already vegan, however rava/suji is not gluten-free. You can replace rava/suji with quinoa, however that would be another recipe. 

2. Can I make Upma with ghee? 

Absolutely! You can top your upma with a tablespoon of ghee towards the very end of the dish (step #11) which adds so much richness to this dish.

3. Is Upma typically eaten for breakfast?

Yes! Upma is typically eaten for breakfast or brunch with a cup of masala chai, however I’ve made this dish for dinner too because it’s so quick & easy. I love it with yogurt and achaar.

4. What other veggies can I add to Rava Upma?

You can add frozen diced carrots and beans. Both of those veggies work really well in upma. I wouldn’t go overboard on veggies. Perhaps 1/4 cup of carrots and 1/4 cup of beans will do.

5. What’s the ratio of rava/suji to water?

Making upma can be tricky. I’ve talked to my mom and my best friend, and both of them suggested three times the amount of water. For slightly dry upma, you can use two and a half times the amount of water.

I personally like using 3 times the amount of water because when you have leftovers, the moisture is lost and this results in a more crumbly upma which isn’t too drying.

Rava to Water Ratio: 1 cup rava/suji to 3 times water is the ratio I like to use.


More Indian Breakfast Recipes!

Tried this recipe? If so, please leave a comment & rate this recipe. That would mean so much to me. If you’re on Instagram, please tag me so I can see your creations. I’m happy to share and mention you. Thank you!


5 from 1 vote

Upma | Rava Upma

By: Nisha
Upma or Rava Upma is a quick & easy South Indian breakfast made with semolina flour, onions, spices, nuts, cilantro, and lemon juice. 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Equipment

Ingredients 

Dry Roast Rava/Suji

  • 1 1/4 cups suji/rava/semolina flour, set aside

Rava Upma Recipe

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp urad dal
  • 1 tsp chana dal
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida, hing
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped
  • 18 leaves curry pata
  • 2 green chilies, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup peas
  • 3 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 Salt
  • 1 1/4 cups dry roasted rava/suji, prepared earlier
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, or more
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
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Instructions 

Roast the Rava/Suji

  • Heat up a nonstick pan on low-medium heat.
  • Add rava to a nonstick pan and dry roast until it is fragrant and toasty. Make sure you don’t brown the rava. This should take a few minutes. Remove suji from the pan and set aside.

Prep the Ingredients

  • Chop the onions, ginger, and cashews. Slice green chilies. Rinse frozen peas under warm water, drain, and set aside. Set aside curry leaves, chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds, and hing.

Cook

  • Heat up a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add oil, followed by mustard seeds (rye). Saute for about 30 seconds.
  • Add chana dal and urad dal. Saute for another 30 seconds.
  • Add asafoetida (hing). Saute for 30 seconds.
  • Now add ginger, cashews, and curry leaves. Saute for a minute.
  • Add onions and salt. Saute for 3 minutes or so until the onions are translucent. Do not brown the onions, we simply want them to be translucent.
  • Add green peas. Saute for a minute.
  • Now add water and salt.
  • Cover and simmer on medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  • The water should come to a rolling boil.
  • Now add rava/suji a little at a time and stir at the same time. Doing so will prevent any lumps.
  • This is what you’ll have once the rava/suji has been incorporated with the water. It’ll look smooth and creamy.
  • Cook the upma on low heat for a couple of minutes. Add fresh cilantro and lemon juice. Adjust salt. Mix well. You’ll notice the upma will become more crumbly as the moisture gets absorbed.
  • You'll end up with crumbly and fluffy upma as the moisture gets absorbed. Enjoy with yogurt and achaar.

Notes

  • Dry roast the rava/suji first. Do not brown the rava/suji, but it should be dry and toasty.
  • Prep your ingredients – chop the veggies. Set everything aside as you’ll need to work quickly.
  • Cook the upma as per the directions.
  • I recommend using a 1:3 ratio of rava/suji to water.

Nutrition

Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 89mg | Potassium: 197mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 162IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 3mg

Additional Info

Course: Breakfast & Brunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Tried this recipe?Mention @honeywhatscooking or tag #honeywhatscooking!

Hi, I'm Nisha!

I'm a foodie who is passionate about healthy-ish living and mindful eating. You'll find a bit of everything here. I use mostly organic real ingredients and incorporate seasonal produce in my cooking. I believe food is medicine. Join me on this soul-searching journey as I share my love for good food, and I hope I inspire you to eat better somewhere along the way.


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