Arisi upma  Rice rava upma tiffin

Arisi upma or rice rava upma is another traditional tiffin dish known to us probably from our grandmomthers time and before .It is nothing but a simple way of making upma with rice and some spices like cumin , cracked pepper, some dal, chillies  and curry leaves. Those days rice was used for almost every dish and as it used to be bought or cultivated in villages they used to find creative tiffîn options using rice grain . It was also economical and using rava or semolina was not so prevalent then.

Rice flour was also usually milled at home with a domestic mortar pestle and though laborious it was also delicious . So many rice based tiffîn items were known to our ancestors .
The traditional method seems to be more cumbersome as it involved soaking rice and spreading it around a cloth to air dry. It was then milled or pounded at home coarsely with a mortar pestle.

This rice was softer after drying and made a good upma .

But we are fortunate as now we see many good brands of rice rava readily available and also evenly milled grains so the upma looks and tastes great with uniform grains.

This is the same idli rava that we use to make idlis . I know it makes me sound too lazy but I not only use this ready rice rava but also make it into a ready to make mix to save time and also make travel packs for travelling to enjoy a good arisi upma where ever we are staying in a hotel or a temporary rental. All I need is a rice cooker .

While I love all traditional dishes am not prepared to slog so much in the kitchen when good substitutes are easily available . My aim is to help the beginners , bachelors a, students living on their own to solve food problems and I don’t want them to get deterred by the old laborious sounding recipes .

I have been making ready to make mix of several tiffin items and several side dishes as well to make easy for the traveler.

Recipe type                     Breakfast /tiffin        
Prep time                        7 minutes    
Cook time                       10 minutes
total time                         17 minutes
Yield                                5 servings


1 cup rice rava ( idli rava ) 
3 tbsp moong dal ( paasi parup or even Chana dal can be used ) 
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp pepper cracked .
2 red dry chillies
some curry leaves
Pinch of asafoetida powder
About 2 1/2 cups of water to cook rice rava . 
salt to taste 
 1 tbsp oil 
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp chana dal / bengal gram dal 
2 tsp coconut oil ( optional )
1 tbsp fresh grated coconut 
Some mixed vegetables ( optional )m
Usually vegetables are not added to Arisi upma, but in the recipe given I just tossed a few pieces of  of mixed veggies. It tasted good too. Authentic rice / Arisi upma will not have any vegetables . 


Stove top method in a pan ( rice rava upma can also be prepared in cooker but I prefer the open pan method as the grains are fine and rice rava cooks well . ) 
First keep the rice rava and the moong dal mixed and soaked in water for few minutes . It helps to give a softer UPMA grains as we are using ready rice rava which is very dry .
Next Take a heavy bottomed pan or a non stick pan , heat it up .
Add oil just enough for tempering , add the Chana dal and let it turn golden , splutter the mustard seeds, add  red chillies , cumin , curry leaves.  
Now measure out required amount of water . 
For 1 cup rice rava with moong dal add 2 1/2 cups water .
Allow water to boil . Add asafoetida powder , pinch of cracked pepper and  salt .
Just before adding the rice rava add the grated fresh coconut and now add the rice rava with moong dal by draining the water ( we soaked it remember ? ) 
Add slowly with one hand, reducing gas flame and keep stirring with other hand in circular motions so that the rice rava doesn’t settle in the bottom of the pan and become lumpy .
Now cover and cook on a low flame till the water is completely absorbed and the rice rava upma is ready . 
Open the lid to check , stir well with a spatula, add some coconut oil at this stage if you like . It gives an amazing aroma and flavor too . 
Keep covered in the hot pan .
Serve with coconut chutney 


  1. says

    Nice tips! Despite all efforts and help from multiple hands lumps form in my rice upma. So I boil water ahead in a vessel while I add the rice+dal mix to the tadka. And pour water into it. Water over rice always gives me better results.

    • says

      thats a great way too, i used to do that , but now I can make good upma this way too as one needs to pour rava slowly with one hand in boiling water while stirring continuously with other till all rava is under hot water, then cover and cook on a very low flame …it gets done .the first method is quite popular in Karnataka and Maharashtra …thanks Viji

    • says

      hi what a pleasant surprise!thanks for the lovely words, Cant thank you enough for making me so comfortable in your home to enable me to blog as usual

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