Vegetable Rava Upma (Sooji Upma)

3.78 from 18 votes

Vegetable Rava Upma (Sooji Upma, Savory Semolina Porridge) is a popular Indian breakfast dish made using fine semolina, onions, mild spices, and a few more ingredients. It is filling and nutritious and comes together in under 20 minutes. My recipe makes the best fluffy and non-sticky upma in a jiffy (vegetarian).

Vegetable rava upma served in a bowl.
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About Rava Upma

Vegetable Rava Upma (Sooji Upma) is a thick and fluffy savory porridge made using rava (semolina, sooji), veggies, fresh ginger, curry leaves, and a few more simple ingredients.

This South Indian breakfast recipe is easy to make, delicious, and comes together in just 20 minutes.

Traditionally known as Uppumavu, Uppuma, Uppindi, or Uppittu, it is typically served for everyday breakfast with kesari bath(sweet semolina pudding) or with a side of coconut chutney or podi and filter coffee.

Not only South Indian homes but also restaurants, darshinies (roadside South Indian eateries), and tiffin centers have it on their menu.

Traditionally, rava upma is made using wheat semolina (rava), but you can make many versions using bread, vermicelli, flattened rice (poha), oats, etc.

This Indian semolina porridge is loaded with vegetables, which make it nutritious, filling, and wholesome. You can skip the veggies and make a simple version.

A well-made upma is non-sticky and is bursting with flavors from spices. This dish is very simple to make OR BREAK. If made properly by following the recipe and measurements correctly, you can make fabulous sooji upma at home but if the measurements are off, it will turn into a goopy mess.

But worry not; my step-by-step recipe will detail every step for you. Just follow it to the T and make the best rava upma ever.

This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled. Just adjust the ingredients; the cooking time will remain almost the same.

Here are some more breakfast recipes that you must try

Ingredients

You will get all the ingredients in your nearby Indian grocery store.

Upma ingredients 1
Upma ingredients 2
Upma ingredients 3

Rava – Rava is also called semolina, cream of wheat, or sooji. It comes in multiple thicknesses, but to make rava upma, always choose fine semolina or barik rava. It is also called upma rava or Bombay rava.

Try buying roasted rava as it has a better shelf life and also cuts down the roasting time in the recipe.

Ghee – You will need some fat to roast the semolina. I highly recommend using ghee (clarified butter) as it lends a very nice flavor to the final dish. However, if you want to make a vegan version, use plant-based oil instead.

For Tempering – Tempering of brown mustard seeds, curry leaves, dried nuts, and lentils gives it a nice flavor and crunch.

Split and skinned black lentils (white urad dal), Bengal gram (chana dal), and nuts like cashew nuts or peanuts add a lovely crunch to the otherwise soft upma and I highly recommend adding these to your recipe.

Other Ingredients – I have added red onions, green chilies, fresh ginger, and veggies to my recipe. But you can feel free to skip these and make a plain and simple upma. 

I generally add carrot, green beans, and peas, which are traditionally added to it, but feel free to add broccoli, mushroom, cauliflower, zucchini, etc.

Hot water – The proportion of water to semolina is very important for the right texture of rava upma. I always use 2.5 cups of boiling water per cup of semolina, which gives me perfectly fluffy and non-sticky every single time.

Cilantro and Lime – Add chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves) at the end to make it even more flavorful. Adding a little freshly squeezed lime juice balances the flavors very well.

How To Make Rava Upma

Preparations

Break cashew nuts into halves.

Chop a small red onion and 1 small green chili, and grate a small piece of ginger using the small hole of a grater.

Peel a carrot and cut it into ⅛-inch cubes. Cut green beans into ⅛ inch pieces and rinse ¼ cup frozen green peas with water.

Keep 3 cups of water for boiling on the other stove. We will need 2.5 cups of boiling water.

Gather the remaining ingredients.

Roast The Semolina

Heat 1 teaspoon ghee in a pan over medium-low heat.

NoteYou can use oil for a vegan version. However, the best upma is made in ghee.

Ghee heating in a pan.

Add 1 cup fine sooji to the pan and mix it well with the ghee by stirring and mashing the clumps with the back of a ladle.

Note – You can also roast the sooji without ghee, but adding a little ghee ensures the upma is not gooey and is perfectly fluffy.

Semolina added to the pan.

Roast the rava until it turns light brown (3-4 minutes). Keep stirring continuously so it roasts evenly without getting burned at the bottom of the pan.

Note – Do not over-roast the rava; otherwise the upma will turn dark in color.

Transfer the roasted rava to a plate and keep it aside. 

Note – Do not leave roasted rava in the pan; otherwise, it will keep browning from the pan’s heat.

Tip – You can roast the sooji in bulk, cool it, and store it in an airtight container for up to a month. Use it whenever you want. It will save you some time.

Roasted semolina.

Make The Upma

Wipe the same pan with a paper towel to remove any rava sticking to it, and add the remaining ghee to it. Heat it over medium-high heat.

Tip – Do not reduce the amount of ghee; otherwise, the upma will not turn out fluffy.

Ghee heating in a pan.

Once the ghee is hot, add

  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds,
  • 15-20 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon split and skinned black lentils (white urad dal)
  • 1 teaspoon Bengal gram (chana dal)
  • 8-10 halved cashew nuts

and saute until they turn slightly brown (1-2 minutes).

Mustard seeds, curry leaves, lentils and cashew nuts added to the pan.
Browned lentils and cashew nuts.

Add

  • ½ cup chopped red onions
  • 2 teaspoon chopped green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger

and cook until the onions turn pinkish (2-3 minutes). Stir frequently.

Onions, green chilies and ginger added to the pan.
Onions turned pinkish in color.

Add

  • ¼ cup cubed carrots
  • ¼ cup chopped green beans
  • ¼ cup green peas

and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir frequently.

Note – I like crunchy veggies, so I cook them for very little time. If you like them soft, cover the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until tender.

Veggies added to the pan.
Sauteed veggies.

Now add

  • 2.5 cups of boiling water
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and ½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil.

Tip – To check if the salt is enough for your taste, taste the water. If you like the saltiness, it is fine; otherwise, add more salt as per your preference.

Hot water, sugar, salt and lime juice added to the pan.

Reduce the heat to low.

Slowly add the roasted suji and keep mixing while adding to avoid the formation of lumps. Make sure to mix it well and take care that there are no lumps. Preferably mix in one direction.

Adding semolina to the pan and mixing at the same time.
Semolina mixed well with water.

Cover the pan with a lid. Covering the pan is important as it will let the sooji soak up the water and become soft.

Pan covered with a lid.

Cook for 5-8 minutes on low heat until suji absorbs the water and is cooked completely. 

Remove the pan from heat and let it rest for 4-5 minutes with the lid on. 

pan removed from the heat.
Lid removed after 5 minutes.

Remove the lid, fluff the upma with a fork, garnish with 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (coriander), and serve hot.

Ready rava upma.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make vegan upma?

To make it vegan, replace ghee with any oil.

Can I make upma with idli rava?

No, you cannot use idli rava to make upma. The grains of idli rava are larger and upma will not taste good if made using it.

Why is my upma sticky?

1. Roasting semolina properly is very important. If not roasted properly, it might turn sticky when mixed with water. It is important to add a little ghee while roasting the semolina.
2. Adding cold water can make the upma sticky. So make sure to add roasted rava in boiling water.
3. Do not skimp on ghee. It is crucial to make fluffy nonsticky upma.

How to roast semolina in the microwave?

Instead of roasting the semolina in a skillet, you can also roast it in a microwave. This method is great for roasting it in bulk and store for future use.
Add the semolina to a microwave-safe bowl and micro for 4 minutes on high. Then stir it well and keep microwaving in increments of 1 minute until it is lightly browned and fragrant. Keep stirring after every minute.

Variations

You can make many variations of rava upma by replacing semolina with other ingredients such as Dalia Upma (broken wheat), sabudana upma (tapioca pearls), ragi upma, leftover idli upma, oats upma, Vermicelli Upma, puffed rice upma, or even Bread Upma. The cooking time is different for each grain though.

You can add more vegetables to make it healthier and more filling. 

Add tomatoes and spices like turmeric powder and red chili powder to make a spicy masala upma. 

Grind cilantro, mint leaves, and green chili peppers and add the paste to the upma to make a coriander mint upma. It also gives it a beautiful green color. 

You can add pureed tomatoes and make a flavorful tomato upma.

Serving Suggestions

Suji ka upma is best served with White Coconut Chutney and a hot South Indian Filter Coffee or Adrak Wali Chai. Try the Red Chilli Coconut Chutney or Coconut Cilantro Chutney with the upma for a change.

The North Indian in me likes to top mine with some sev and eat it with tomato ketchup. Green Chutney will also go well with it.

You can also serve it with spicy Bombay Chutney. Some households even serve it with pickles, the most popular being lemon pickles. 

You can also sprinkle South Indian podi like Idli Podi, Karivepaku Podi, or Andhra Style Peanut Chutney Powder. Do not forget to drizzle some extra ghee on top.

Storage Suggestions

Rava upma tastes best when served fresh, but if you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container for about 2-3 days.

It tends to get dry after refrigerating, so before reheating, add in a little water and mix well.

You can reheat it in a pan on a stovetop or microwave until nice and warm.

You Might Also Like

Vegetable Rava Upma (Sooji Upma, Savory Semolina Porridge) is a popular Indian breakfast dish made using fine semolina, onions, mild spices, and a few more ingredients. It is filling and nutritious and comes together in under 20 minutes. My recipe makes the best fluffy and non-sticky upma in a jiffy (vegetarian).
3.78 from 18 votes

Fluffy Vegetable Rava Upma Recipe (Sooji Upma)

Vegetable Rava Upma (Sooji Upma, Savory Semolina Porridge) is a popular Indian breakfast dish made using fine semolina, onions, mild spices, and a few more ingredients. It is filling and nutritious and comes together in under 20 minutes. My recipe makes the best fluffy and non-sticky upma in a jiffy.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons ghee (divided, use oil for a vegan version)
  • 1 cup fine semolina (sooji or rava)
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 15-20 whole curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon split and skinned black lentils (white urad dal)
  • 1 teaspoon Bengal gram (chana dal)
  • 8-10 cashew nuts (halved)
  • ½ cup chopped red onions
  • 2 teaspoons chopped green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • ¼ cup cubed carrots (cut into ⅛-inch cubes)
  • ¼ cup chopped green beans (cut into ⅛ inch pieces)
  • ¼ cup frozen green peas (rinsed with water and drained)
  • 2 and ½ cups boiling hot water
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 and ½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves)
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Instructions 

Roast The Semolina

  • Heat 1 teaspoon ghee in a pan over medium-low heat.
  • Add rava to the pan and mix it well with the ghee by stirring and mashing the clumps with the back of a ladle.
  • Roast the rava until it turns very light brown (3-4 minutes). Stir continuously so it roasts evenly without getting burned at the bottom of the pan.
  • Do not over-roast the sooji; otherwise, the upma will turn dark.
  • Transfer the roasted rava to a plate and keep it aside. 
  • Do not leave roasted sooji in the pan otherwise, it will keep browning from the heat of the pan.

Make The Upma

  • Wipe the same pan with a paper towel to get rid of any rava sticking to it and add the remaining ghee to it. Heat it over medium-high heat.
  • Once the ghee is hot, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, black lentils, Bengal gram, and cashew nuts, and saute until they turn slightly brown (1-2 minutes).
  • Add onions, green chilies, and ginger, and cook until the onions turn pinkish (2-3 minutes). Stir frequently.
  • Add carrots, green beans, and green peas and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir frequently.
  • I like my veggies crunchy, so I cook them for very little time. If you like them soft, then cover the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until they are tender.
  • Now add hot water, sugar, salt, and lime juice to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • To check if the salt is enough for your taste, taste the water. If you like the saltiness, it is fine, otherwise, add more salt as per your liking.
  • Reduce the heat to low.
  • Slowly add the roasted suji and keep mixing while adding to avoid the formation of lumps. Make sure to mix it well and take care that there are no lumps. Preferably mix in one direction.
  • Cover the pan with a lid. Covering the pan is important as it will let the semolina soak up the water and become soft.
  • Cook for 5-8 minutes on low heat until sooji absorbs the water and is cooked completely. 
  • Remove the pan from heat and let it rest for 4-5 minutes with the lid on. 
  • Remove the lid, fluff with a fork, garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Roasting semolina properly is very important. If not roasted properly, it might turn sticky when mixed with water. It is important to add a little ghee while roasting the semolina.
Adding cold water can make the upma sticky. So make sure to add roasted rava in boiling water.
Do not skimp on ghee. It is crucial to make fluffy nonsticky upma.

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 29mg, Sodium: 590mg, Potassium: 211mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 1460IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 26mg, Iron: 2mg
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8 Comments

  1. Just so great for an Indian Jesuit Priest working in Canada. OOOOOhhhh… I’m just waiting to try this out first thing in the morning. Thank you ever so much. God bless you for making this a much brighter world by your wonderful contribution. God Bless. Fr. Pat.sj.

  2. 5 stars
    The Upma recipe is PERFECT!!! I was able to prepare a DELICIOUS batch of Upma.

    THANK YOU for sharing the detailed recipe along with a great video!

    I have been eating Upma since year 2000. I no longer need to depend on my colleagues’ wife and others to prepare this dish for me.

  3. Hi Neha, I tried this recipe 2 days back n it turned out perfect … just the way v get in restaurants … So thank u for ur effort n making r kitchen life easy.