Rava Vegetable Upma, my MIL’s Way

When I posted this a while ago, a few of you asked for the recipe for the leftover rava vegetable upma and cheese cutlets. Well, that is going to be the next recipe I post here. For today, I will tell you how I make the rava upma that we make these cutlets from.

I think the making of a perfect rava upma is an art. Not everyone can get upma right – it needs a lot of understanding and technique. There are a whole lot of versions of the rava upma, too – soft and squishy, almost powdery, the plain and simple one without vegetables, the one with veggies, the one with a dash of garam masala and what not.

My MIL makes a wonderful rava upma, the perfect blend of spicy and salty, with a whole lot of veggies. I wasn’t a big fan of upma before I got married, but once I tasted her version, I fell in love. I went on to learn how to make it, from her, and now cook it often at home. This post is about my MIL’s version of rava upma.


Ingredients (about 4 servings):

1-1/2 glasses of rava aka sooji or semolina

A few fresh curry leaves

A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and very finely chopped

4 green chillies, slit, or according to taste

Salt to taste

1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 medium-sized onion, peeled and finely chopped

8-10 beans, strings removed and finely chopped

A small piece of cabbage, finely chopped

A fistful of fresh/frozen green peas

1 small capsicum, finely chopped

2-3 medium-sized tomatoes, finely chopped

4-5 tablespoons oil

A pinch of asafoetida

2 teaspoons mustard


  1. Dry roast the rava in a hot pan, on medium flame, till it turns a little brown and starts emitting a lovely fragrance. Switch off the flame and remove the rava onto a plate. Keep aside. (If you are using pre-roasted rava, skip this step altogether and move on to the next one.)
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the mustard. Let it splutter. Add the asafoetida.
  3. Next, add the chopped onion and ginger. Fry for a couple of minutes or until the onion starts turning brown.
  4. Now, add the chopped carrots. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the beans and the cabbage. Fry for a couple of minutes more.
  6. Now, add the tomatoes, green peas and the capsicum. Add a little salt and sprinkle some water. Fry till the vegetables are cooked, but not overly done.
  7. Add 4-1/2 glasses of water to the pan. (I use 3 glasses of water for every glass of rava used. So, for 1-1/2 glasses of rava, I use 4-1/2 glasses of water). Add the slit green chillies, salt to taste and curry leaves. Let the water come to a rolling boil, keeping the flame medium.
  8. Once the water is boiling, add the roasted rava in a slow drizzle, with one hand, stirring constantly with the other hand, ensuring that no lumps are formed and that the rava is entirely incorporated into the water.
  9. Turn the flame to low and cook for a few more minutes. Turn off the gas. Serve the upma hot, by itself or with your choice of chutney.


  1. You can add lemon juice to taste just before the rava is entirely incorporated into the water. That is purely optional.
  2. You can add sugar to taste too, at the same time.
  3. If you plan to use garam masala, add it along with the veggies so that its strong smell comes down a notch or two by the time you finish making the upma.
  4. You could add finely chopped coriander leaves too, at the stage where the rava is just about to get entirely incorporated into the water.
  5. Some people use urad dal in the tadka, along with mustard, but I usually skip that as I don’t prefer the upma that way.
  6. The water: rava ratio mentioned in this recipe will yield an upma that isn’t too dry, but well cooked. If you want a drier upma, you could decrease the quantity of water you put in.
  7. My MIL sometimes makes upma without roasting the rava at all, which yields a more liquid, more gooey upma. I prefer roasting the rava.
  8. Increase or decrease the number of chillies that you use in the upma, as per your taste preferences.

How do you guys like your rava upma? Tell me all about it!



5 thoughts on “Rava Vegetable Upma, my MIL’s Way

  1. This sounds so lovely!
    You are absolutely right. It is hard to get upma right. Such a seemingly simple dish and it is amazing how we can mess it up so easily. Yes, making perfect upma is an art.

    I usually dislike upma because I don’t know how to make it perfectly. It is rare for me to appreciate upma. But this really tempts me a lot. I will try it soon.

    And oh, the idea of making cheese cutlets with this upma has me salivating. Can’t wait for the next post.


    1. @Pepper

      Yes, I think making the perfect upma is an art, just like making a good cup of tea, a good dosa or chapati. There are a whole lot of foods out there that taste good even if you aren’t very methodical about the preparation, but I don’t think rava upma is one of those things.

      Glad you liked the post. I hope you will try out this version of rava upma soon.

      My mom believes that you can’t make a good upma without pouring a whole lot of oil into the pan. I’m busy in the kitchen these days trying to prove her wrong. 🙂

      Hopefully, I will be able to put up the recipe for the rava upma cheese cutlets soon!


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