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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 u
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine south indian
Servings 3 serving


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


  • 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, frozen green peas (if using) 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.


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.
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]
(c) Nandita Iyer 2006-2016