July 17, 2008

Lump-Proof Vegetable Rawa Uppuma/ Upma (Semolina Cooked With Vegetables)

Printable recipe here.

What is Uppuma (or uppumavu)?
In Tamil, “uppu” means salt and “ma” means flour. While this doesn't quite explain it, uppuma is a savoury dish somewhat like couscous. This south Indian preparation, usually served for breakfast, can be eaten as a snack or brunch and is a wholesome meal in itself. Usually made with coarse rawa (semolina), uppuma can also be made with broken/ cracked wheat, broken rice and semia (vermicelli).
There are plenty of people (including my husband and daughter) who don’t particularly like uppuma (or upma as it is mostly referred to as), but I’m not one of them. I really like uppuma, especially when it is served hot, and made with lot of vegetables.
Traditionally, in our homes, uppuma is made using coconut oil and without vegetables or onions. Sometimes, freshly grated coconut is also added at the end, just before taking the uppuma off the heat.
Uppuma is usually served with coconut chutney, though it can be eaten with Indian pickles/ sugar/ banana or even plain yogurt! I like it without any accompaniment and occasionally with the small sweet variety of bananas.

But one thing I avoid eating is lumpy or sticky uppuma. I know many people make it and enjoy it this way. Then I’ve seen some people adding a lot of oil to the uppuma just before taking it off the stove to ensure it doesn’t cool down to a lumpy mass. I prefer my uppuma to have a crumbly and fluffy texture and learnt how to make it this way from my mother. And it has worked for me every time, well almost. Occasionally, though, the quality of the rawa (semolina) can play havoc with the best of recipes. Here’s the recipe.


1 ½ cups rawa (coarse semolina)
1 ½ tsp ghee/ oil (optional)
3 cups water
salt to taste
1 cup finely chopped assorted vegetables (carrots, peas, cauliflower, beans, potatoes, sweet corn)
1 big onion, finely chopped
2” piece ginger, minced
1 -2 green chillies, chopped
2 tsp oil or coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp urad dal (black gram dal)
2 tsp chana dal (Bengal gram dal)
1 sprig curry leaves


If pre-roasted rawa is available, then that’s best for this uppuma. Otherwise, heat the ghee/ oil and add the rawa. Roast the rawa over low to medium heat till golden in colour and an aroma emanates from the rawa. Using ghee gives the uppuma a very nice and unique taste. If you prefer, you can avoid the ghee and oil here and dry roast the rawa. Keep aside.
Add salt to the 3 cups of water and keep to boil. Cook the chopped vegetables (not onions) in the microwave till just done. If not using the microwave, add the vegetables to the water kept for boiling. They will cook by the time the water boils.
In a wok, heat the 2 tsp oil and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the urad dals and sauté till golden brown. Now add the ginger, onions and green chillies. Sauté till the onions are soft. Add the curry leaves and vegetables (if microwaved), stir and add the rawa. Stir everything so that the rawa uniformly coats the vegetables. Turn down the heat to low. Slowly add the boiling water (with or without the vegetables) because at this point the mixture tends to spit. Stir everything so it is well mixed. Keep mixing occasionally till the rawa absorbs all the water and the uppuma is fluffy. This should take about 5 to 10 minutes.
Serve hot. This recipe serves 3 to 4 people.
Sia of Monsoon Spice is guest hosting Nandita’s WBB and this month’s theme is Summer Feast. My Vegetable Uppuma goes there. Mansi of Fun and Food reminded me that this preparation would be right for the event she's hosting right now. Uppuma is a great way to start off the day as it is full of vegetables, fibre, low in fat and extremely filling. So this is goes to Healthy Cooking too.

I just realised (actually my husband pointed this out, or I wouldn't have noticed) that this is my 101st post.

Natashya of Living In The Kitchen With Puppies has been kind enough to think my blog deserves a Yum-Yum Blog award. Thanks Natashya for your kind words too.

Just a reminder that the last date for entries for Think Spice, Think Nutmeg is the 27th of July and BBD #12 - "Small Breads" is the 1st of August.


Shreya said...

Congrats on your 101 post and the award. I like the info on Upma, and I can totally relate to what you say about lumpy, sticky upma, and the oily version. My mother makes the upma exactly as you have posted in your recipe, and my father has this with the small sweet banana you mention. I wish I had the patience to chop all veggies in the morning. I add grated carrots to the boiling water and pour it in..The picture makes me want to make this asap:-) Thanks so much for this post...

sra said...

I never realised upma was made using coconut oil, too. And grated coconut as garnish is also new to me. I am one of the few souls who likes upma as well.

Nags said...

lump proof upma! yay!!

Sunshinemom said...

I have also been an upma lover, and the more the veggies the better! When I posted this recipe I too started off on that note - about ppl. not liking upma and am I glad that it is wrong:)


congrats on your award n also on 101th post .. upma looks yummy .. its one of my fave, esp when it is piping hot

Mansi Desai said...

I love upma, and this one looks delicious with all those colorful veggies! and lump-proof! awesome:)

btw, this would be a nice entry for the healthy cooking event on my blog!:)

Katie said...

Congrats on the 101! How cool.

I am really excited for the Think Spice, Think Nutmeg round-up. I also plan on entering the Small Breads contest.

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Hey priya
all the best for the entry...vegetable rawa upma will also be very good for health, isnt it !

Lore said...

What a great way of using semolina. Thank you for the inspiration! I've only used semolina in two ways before: boiled in milk and added in cookie recipes or crumble toppings for an extra gritty texture.

Sig said...

Lol, I love that name lump proof :) Great looking upma Aparna... Also, congrats on the century.... :)

Rachel said...

Congrst on the 101th post!!

Am not a fond of upma..neither the plain nor with the vegs....although the bowl of upma looks good :)

Chitra said...

For a person whose Upma was always soggy this post of yours was quite helpful. thanks to you I finally was able to dish it out properly. I have shared it at http://kootucurri.blogspot.com/2008/07/upma.html

thanks once again

Renmark said...

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Aparna said...

So there are quite a few of us who like uppuma. Makes me happy.:D

Your version should be good too, Shreya.

Sra, in Kerala almost everything is cooked in coconut oil. Even papads are fried in it!

Mansi, have sent it across to you.

Looking forward to your entries, Katie.

This is just one recipe using semolina. There are quite a few Indian recipes which use semolina.

Happy to know this recipe worked well for you. Here's to uppuma more often in your home.:)