Arisi Upma - A breakfast in minutes
Recipe for a traditional Arisi Upma - Rice Rava Upma
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 idli rava 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 wonderful aroma to the arisi upma, but it's not a must really. Use any other vegetable oil or ghee instead, if you don't favour the smell of coconut oil.
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 :)
You can prepare some fresh tempering of udad dal and mustard seeds in coconut oil to garnish the upma. This also gives it a lovely crunch.
According to my granny, rice-rava has a slight bitter tinge about it which this jaggery will neutralise.
Edited to add: My dad (who passed away in 2014) had left a comment when I had once shared this on Facebook- "Unnudaya uppumavai partha udaneye appdiye sappidanumbola irukku. God bless you. Appa." [rough translation: seeing this upma, i want to eat it immediately]
Arisi Upma | Rice rava upma
- In a large non stick kadai, heat the coconut oil.
- 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.
- Add 3 cups of water, salt, coconut scrapings and jaggery. Let this come to a rolling boil.
- Reduce the flame to sim and add the idli rava while stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve hot garnished with some more fresh coconut if required.