Rava & Corn Upma

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M S Subbulakshmi’s soulful voice, the aroma of the brewing coffee, the sizzle of the curry leaves and the pitter patter of rain drops! This was the scene, a very long time ago when I had my first bite of Rava Upma. Some memories, like this one, are etched in your heart for ever.

Being a Kashmiri, I had never had Upma before this day. We traditionally use Rava or Sooji to make a sweet dish called halva. And since we are not too much into sweets as well, we usually make halva as a prasad. This was the pre Google age, and the pre globalization age – so I really had no idea what I was eating and what to expect. It took a lot of self restraint to not to ask what the dish was before I had even tasted it. That obviously would have been rude. I was trying my best to show respect towards my friend’s mom, who had lovingly made the breakfast for us. So I braced myself and took the first bite. The crescendo of flavors and the wholesomeness that this dish brought about in my mouth is something I cannot explain; not even if I was a direct descendant of Elizabeth Barrett Browning herself. It was sheer poetry in food form. Wholesome, full of goodness of spice, a nice balance of salty and tangy, light yet filling!

There are possibly a million ways to make Upma and in my own kitchen too, I make many variations of this nourishing dish. What I however ensure is that I don’t put too many ingredients into any variation. Keep it Simple and enjoy the real goodness of a freshly made Upma.

Serves 4 as breakfast


  • 1 C Roasted Upma Rava
  • 2 1/2 C  water
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1/4 Tsp black mustrad seeds
  • 4- 5 curry leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 1 Thai green chilli, chopped
  • 1/s tsp finely minced ginger
  • 1/2 C finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 C Organic sweet corn kernels
  • 1tsp urad dal
  • 1 tsp channa dal
  • Salt to taste

For garnish

  • 2 -3 tsp Cilantro chopped
  • 2 Tbs finely grated fresh coconut [optional]
  • Lemon wedges


  1. Take a pan and start heating the water in it. And while it is heating, do the remaining steps.
  2. In a non stick pan, dry roast the upma rava for a couple of minutes on medium heat.
  3. Once it is thoroughly heated and roasted; flip the upma rava on to a dry plate.
  4. In the same pan, heat the oil.
  5. Add the mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter.
  6. Add the urad and channa Dals, fry them for a minute or so until they turn reddish in color.
  7. Add the curry leaves, stir.
  8. Now add the onions and ginger and green chillies.
  9. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, until the onions turn pale.
  10. Add the corn and use 1/4 C of water from Step 1.
  11. Cook for about 2 minutes or until corn reaches it done stage.
  12. Now, put the upma rava back into the pan.
  13. Stir to mix all the ingredients. Add salt.
  14. Carefully add the remaining water from step 1  to  the upma mix.
  15. Mix well, stirring until the upma leaves the sides of the pan and is thick and soft.
  16. Garnish with all three garnish ingredients.
  17. While eating, squeeze the lemon on top and enjoy with a Chennai Coffee or freshly squeezed pineapple juice.

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