Arisi upma is one of the most common tiffin or breakfast in a Tamil Brahmin house. I simply love the flavor of the upma when my grandmother makes it in the brass vessel called the uruli. There is a wonderful layer of caramelized upma in the base of the uruli that is just delicious. After my grandmother, my mother makes very good upma and I have never been able to replicate her flavor even though I use her recipe. This summer when mom came to visit, I made sure to ask her to make arisi upma several times to see how she makes it and now I am getting close (not there yet) to her flavors.
This is a very simple preparation with no planning required. I also like the way how my mom makes the rice rava to make the upma. It takes 15 minutes and the rava can be made in the regular blender.
Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time – 30 minutes
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients – (serves 4)
- Raw rice – 1 cup (I use sona masoori for everyday cooking)
- Tuvaram paruppu / Toor dal – ¼ cup
- Black pepper – 1 tsp
- Water – about 3 cups
- Salt – to taste
- Nallennai / Gingelly oil – 2 tbsp
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Ullutham paruppu / urad dal – 1 tsp
- Kadalai paruppu / channa dal – 1 tbsp
- Red chilies – 2
- Green chilies – 2 (sliced lengthwise)
- Asafetida – ¼ tsp
- Curry leaves – few
- To make the rice rava – Take the rice along with Tuvaram paruppu and black pepper in a wide bowl and sprinkle about ¼ cup of water over the rice. The rice should be just wet and not soaking wet. Mix it well using your hands and leave it aside for 10 to 15 minutes. After 15 minutes you will notice that the rice has absorbed most of the water and is just mildly wet. At this stage transfer the content to the blender jar and grind it until it resembles rava (semolina). My mother prefers her rava to be on the finer side and hence I also do that. Make sure that when you grind the rice it should still be a little moist. Do not let the moisture dry out entirely from the rice.
- In a heavy bottom pan, heat the oil and add all the seasoning ingredients. Fry them until aromatic and then slowly add the water. I use about 3 cups of water for 1 cup of rice when making white rice and hence use the same quantity for this as well. Depending on what rice you use, adjust the water quantity.
- Let the water come to a boil and then add salt to the water. Mix well and slowly add the rice rava to the pan.
- Mix well and let it come to a boil again. Now simmer the flame and cover the pan with a plate having a thin layer of water in it. This procedure helps keeps the upma moist when cooking. Check every 5 minutes and mix the upma when cooking. Also make sure that the flame is in simmer all through the process otherwise the rice would not be cooked.
- The upma should be ready in about 15 minutes. Check if the rice is cooked well and then turn off the flame. Keep the pan covered for 10 more minutes before serving. Serve with chutney or sambhar!