Tomato Upma is a great favourite with my father because it is a bit more tangy than regular upma, and so it is a variation I make often for breakfast.

The Perfect Tomato Upma | A Favourite South Indian Breakfast
The Perfect Tomato Upma

Upma is popular breakfast or “tiffin” (evening snack) in South India. It is easy to make and quite filling. Upma is basically roasted semolina cooked in tempered water. I know, I know that does not sound appetizing, but believe you me a properly seasoned and cooked Upma is a delight.

I have already written about Onion Upma and now am writing about Tomato Upma.

Do you like South Indian breakfasts? Do try my recipes for the Perfect Idli with Idly Rava, Godhuma Dosa | Wheat Flour and Pesarattu | Andhra Moong Dal Dosa.

Tips to make the perfect Tomato Upma:

  • You get two types of rava, the fine-grained version used to make Rava Laddu and the coarser-grained one that is better suited to making this dish. If you use fine grained rava to make this dish, you may have to reduce the water so that you don’t get a pasty texture.
  • Roasting the rava (semolina) before cooking it in water lends this semolina dish a nice grainy texture.
  • In my home, Upma is cooked till it holds shape. However, in many homes they use more water to get a looser consistency.
  • Upma tends to become harder as it cools. Many hotels use a lot more oil in the tempering to keep the dish from hardening. This a trick that might help if you plan to carry it for lunch or eat it after a while. In this case, add a bit more oil to the tempering and add more ghee to the finished product.

In Maharashtra, Upma is often referred to as Tikhat Sheera.

I had first posted this recipe in August 2013 and am now updating it with precise measures, and better pics.

Recipe for the Perfect Tomato Upma

Tomato Upma

Tomato Upma is a variation of the traditional upma and is a favourite breakfast in the south. I serve this Upma with Coconut Chutney for breakfast.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Servings 2 people
Ingredients
  
  • 1/2 Cup Rava or Semolina (~100 gms)
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Tomato (1 Medium; ~75 gms)
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 tsp Ghee
  • Salt to Taste
Tempering
  • 1 tbsp Oil (Sesame Oil preferred)
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Udad Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Grated Ginger
  • 2 Green Chillies
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 4 or 5 Curry Leaves
Instructions
 
  • In a wok/kadai, over low heat, dry roast the rava for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • In the wok/kadai, heat the oil.
  • Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  • Add cumin seeds and udad dal.
  • Stir-fry till the udad dal turns light brown.
  • Add the grated ginger, green chillies and curry leaves, and stir-fry for few seconds.
  • Add the tomato and some salt, and stir-fry till the tomato is stewed.
  • Add turmeric and 1 Cup water, and bring the water to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low.
  • Slowly add the rava to the water while stirring all the time. The stirring is essential because otherwise the rava will settle at one place and form lumps.
  • Turn the heat to medium.
  • Let the rava cook completely, while mixing occasionally.
  • Add the ghee and mix well.
  • Serve hot with Kobbari Gulla Senaga Pappu Pachadi, Nimmakaya or Avakai.
Keyword Rava Tomato, Tomato Upma, Upma
Tomato Upma | Breakfast and Tiffin/Evening Snack from South India
Tomato Upma

Method to Make Tomato Upma

  1. In a heavy-bottomed kadhai, over low heat, dry roast the rava for 3 to 4 minutes. Ensure that the rava does not change colour. In Mumbai, I also get pre-roasted rava and when I use that to make Upma, I skip this step.

  2. Transfer the roasted rava to a plate and set aside. If you leave the rava in the hot kadhai, it will continue to roast and so do transfer it to a plate.
  3. In the wok/kadai, heat the oil.
  4. Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  5. Next, add cumin seeds and udad dal.
  6. Stir-fry till the udad dal turns light brown.
  7. At this stage, add the grated ginger, green chillies and curry leaves to the tempering, and stir-fry for  few seconds.
  8. Now, add the tomato and some salt.
  9. Stir-fry till the tomato is stewed.
  10. Add turmeric and mix well.
  11. Add 1 cup water and bring it to a boil. At this stage, just taste a bit of the water to check if the level of salt is OK. The water should be just a touch salty; just like your tears, as my grandmother used to say dramatically. 🙂
  12. Reduce the heat to low.
  13. Slowly add the rava to the water while stirring all the time. The stirring is essential because otherwise the rava will settle at one place and form lumps.

  14. Turn the heat to medium.
  15. Let the rava cook completely, while mixing occasionally.
  16. Add the ghee and mix well. Vegans can omit this step.
  17. Serve hot with Kobbari Gulla Senaga Pappu Pachadi, Nimmakaya or Avakai.

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