13 June 2010

Arisi Upma - A breakfast in minutes

Steaming hot upma is served

This recipe is another example of how simple traditional Tamil Brahmin cuisine is. No frills, no laundry-list of ingredients and yet divine in taste.

In earlier times, rice rava used to be painstakingly prepared at home by picking, washing and draining the rice. It then used to be left to dry on layers of old muslin cloth in the shade. The rice would then be hand-pounded into a coarse powder. My mother and grandmother still follow the procedure except that in the last step, the food processor has replaced the hand-pounding. Thankfully. 

As much as I love traditions, I am deprived of this virtue called patience. My husband will tell you the same thing. So I pick this packet of readymade Idli Rava from the supermarket and that makes life a lot easier for me.

Idli rava / rice rava (rice that is broken into a coarse rava) is a very useful ingredient to have around the kitchen. It cooks in a jiffy compared to whole rice or regular rava (semolina). You can use this to make delicious Upma Kozhakattai - which is one of the lesser known Tamilian tiffin items that I have never seen in a restaurant menu. This was one of the earliest entries on this blog.

You can also soak this instead of rice to grind idli batter. A simple rice porridge can be prepared in minutes for your toddler at a moment's notice if you have idli rava at home. And of course this breakfast recipe that you can virtually make in the time your family takes to settle on the dining table. 

This makes a quick weekday breakfast. To make it a more sumptuous breakfast, serve it with sambar and a variety of chutneys.

The coconut oil used in this recipe gives a deep aroma to the upma, but it's not a must really. Use any other vegetable oil or ghee instead.

This is way faster than the regular upma because you need not roast the rava nor chop any chillies, ginger, onions etc. and this cooks in almost half the time as regular rava.

So you have no excuses not to try this out. Just make sure you add 'Idli Rava' to your grocery list the next time :)

Arisi Upma - Broken rice upma
Serves 3
Time taken - Under 10 minutes

1-2 tsp edible coconut oil
Small pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1-2 dried red chillies
1 tsp udad dal (ulutham paruppu)
1 sprig curry leaves (optional)
1 cup idli rava
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp scraped fresh coconut
1 small piece of jaggery
1/4 cup frozen peas (optional)

  1. In a large non stick kadai, heat the coconut oil.
  2. Stir in the asafoetida and splutter the mustard seeds. Add the udad dal and fry till lightly golden. Fry the curry leaves if using for a few seconds and the dried red chillies.
  3. Add 3 cups of water, salt, coconut scrapings, frozen green peas (if using) and jaggery. Let this come to a rolling boil.
  4. Reduce the flame to sim and add the idli rava while stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
  5. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook until the water evaporates - this takes under 3-4 minutes. Give it a good stir. Check for salt. If you think the upma is too dry and the rice rava needs to be cooked some more, add few more tablespoons of water, cover and cook on low flame for 2-3 minutes more.
  6. Once this water is absorbed and the rava is cooked, turn off the flame. Keep covered for 2-3 minutes. This will make the grains absorb the moisture from the steam and fluff up some more.
  7. Serve hot garnished with some more fresh coconut if required.

  • The jaggery will not make this taste sweet, but according to my granny rice-rava has a slight bitter tinge about it which this jaggery will neutralize.
  • The original arisi upma recipe does not use peas. This is just to make it more filling and add to the protein content.
15 June 2010
Edited to add- Comment from my Dad on email after seeing this post:
Unnudaya uppumavai partha udaneye appdiye sappidanumbola irukku. Moreover, the garnishing is TOP. God bless you. Appa.
This made me so happy this morning :)


Scarlett O'Hara said...

Food blog? Nice... am gonna come here often! :)

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Simple and yummy breakfast recipe. Looks so good. My fav. YUM!

Cooking Blog Indexer said...

Upma is one of my favorite breakfast..but I always use the wheat based one (semolina or cream of wheat) and not the rice-rava...

Madhuli said...

That's the best sight early morning just after I got to work!craving for it!

Nandita said...

Thanks SOH -you're most welcome here :)

Sunkanya - do you make it this way too?

CBI - Well thats how I usually make the regular upma, this is just a variation when one runs out of regular semolina or is short of time

Hey Madhuli, glad you liked it :)

cheese recipe said...

Hey simple cooking techniques huh ? that seems to be really yummy and easy to cook as well/.. Loving to see your blog with many more updates !

Jayashree said...

I love upma kozhakattai. I almost always turn arisi upma into kozhakattai. Outside of the Iyer community, it is not very well known, even in Tamilnadu.

Sanjeeta kk said...

Good clicks of a simple dish, today's dinner menu is done.

Apu said...

Perfect one pot meal!! Lovely recipe.

Siri said...

I love any upma. very subtle and divine taste. How have you been nandu? I hope All Izz well :D


Anonymous said...

Your recipe is authentic and traditional (but for the peas!).

Normally idli rava is made from parboiled rice, as it is meant for idli making. While for arisi upama, pidi kozhukattai, tavalai adai- all of which have a similar base recipe- we normally use raw rice made into rava at home. The latter is not available commercially. I would guess the idli rava-upma would be more mushy, while normal arisi upma is supposed to be udir-udir. What is your experience?

PreeOccupied said...

This makes for a perfect b'fast. Aint Dads the cutest of all...appreciating everything their daughters make! I once made ice cream which was awful, but he ate it all, and I was the one who was cringing my nose at the taste.

Char said...

Hi nan

can you please tll me , what is quinoa called in India. Your upma recipe reminded me of that... it seems like a huge rage with indians abroad but i just am not able to come up with the indian name

neha said...

I'm loving it! Inspiring and yummy! :)

Miri said...

Sigh....my memories of arisi upma is of it being compared to the glue used at the post office ;) That was Mom, I tried it once with not much success. Hubby had similar experiences with his mom , so we have both decided we can live without it! Maybe this recipe and that lovely photo will inspire me to try again!

splendid market said...

Looks delicious and easy. Some of the ingredients are very foreign to me -- but I shall seek them out!

eatinqueens said...

yuuummy i m trying now.let see what happpppppppppppppppppppppen:)

smylee said...

Well, hi there, and guess what i am happy to see this upma recipe of idli rawa, i have lotsa idli rawa at home and never made idlis outta them, i think i will try this upma :-), and i love upma!! i am sure i am gng to like this as well, i will try though!! thankyou

Aaarti said...

Arisi upma i dont mind, but upma kozhukatai am not too fond off... but gramma makes it with little vellam in middle, that i like :)

Karthick said...

Wow!! mouth watering..will ask mom to prepare this asap.. thnks for the post!

Hema said...

I too love this simple upma.. Its such a comfort food like Idly or dosa.. And your dad is right.. Your pics make us to drool :)

Divya Shankar said...

Wonderful, this one is my personal fav. Thanks for the note on jaggery. I have always prepared it without jaggery. These tips from elders help us to a great extent. And great comment from your appa, must have made your day bright :)

best cooking oil said...

Hmmmm.. mouthwatering image you have placed on your blog looks really awesome upma.

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