Rava Upma with Onion – Savoury Cream of Wheat with Onions

Onion Upma with Lemon Pickle - Healthy Breakfast or Savoury Cream of Wheat with Onion
Onion Upma with Lemon Pickle – Healthy Breakfast or Savoury Cream of Wheat with Onion

Upma is a light and filling breakfast or tiffin (afternoon snack) item that is very popular in South India.

Maharashtra has a very similar dish called Tikhat Sheera.

You will find assorted variations of upma made in various South Indian homes: simple, plain upma, tomato upma, mixed vegetable upma, peas upma….  My favourite version is Onion Upma that I can relish with some spicy Nimmakaya (Nimbu ka Achar or Lime Pickle) or then with some Kobbari Gulla Senaga Pappu Pachadi. There is something about soft, fluffy upma with slightly crunchy onion that makes me happy. 🙂

In Mumbai, you can have some of the best Upma at Mani’s Lunch Home near Ramnarain Ruia College in Dadar East. Be sure to order Upma-Chutney and ask for a Chutney refill, if required. 🙂

Here is the recipe for this simple, healthy, tasty breakfast item.


  1. Rava, Semolina, or Cream of Wheat – 1 Cup
  2. Onion – 1 Medium-Sized
  3. Udad Dal or Husked Black Gram – 1 tsp
  4. Rai or Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  5. Green Chillies – 3
  6. Grated Ginger – 1 tsp
  7. Sugar – 1/4 tsp
  8. Water – 2.25 Cups
  9. Curry Leaves – 6 to 8
  10. Oil – 1 tbsp
  11. Ghee – 1 tsp (Optional)
  12. Salt to Taste


  1. Over medium heat, dry roast the rava till it just starts to change colour. Stir continuously.
  2. Set aside the roasted rava.
  3. Peel and chop the onion into 1/4″ pieces.
  4. In a kadai or a wok, heat the oil.
  5. Add mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  6. Add the udad dal and fry till the dal turns light brown in colour.
  7. Add the onion pieces and stir-fry till the onion just starts to turn transparent.
  8. Slit the green chillies.
  9. Add the green chillies, grated ginger, and curry leaves.
  10. Stir fry for a minute.
  11. Add 2.25 cups of water, sugar and salt.
  12. Bring the water to a boil.
  13. Turn the heat to low.
  14. Add the roasted rava while stirring continuously to ensure that no lumps are formed.
  15. Mix well.
  16. Increase the heat to medium.
  17. Cover the kadai and let the upma cook for 5 minutes.
  18. Uncover and mix well.
  19. Cook for a few minutes more till all the water is absorbed and the rava is cooked.
  20. Turn off the heat.
  21. Add the ghee and mix well.
  22. Serve hot with Coconut Chutney, Molaga Podi or Nimmakaya.


  • Do not fry the onions till they are brown. The upma will have a faintly bitter aftertaste if you do.
  • Just add enough salt to the water such that the water starts to taste slightly salty.
  • You could add 1/2 cup of peas to the boiling water. If you add peas, then add and additional 1/4 cup of water.


I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Do leave me a comment.