Upma is a traditional South Indian dish made with rava/sooji. It is one of the most popular dishes made in the Indian household. It is an easy recipe to make and is highly nutritious in value. Traditionally, rava upma is prepared by roasting sooji (semolina) and sauted vegetables in water. The flavour is further enhanced by adding assorted herbs and spices. Perhaps, rava or sooji upma is one of the easiest and most simple breakfasts that can be made within minutes.A savoury porridge that is filling and satisfying at the same time. It can be served to all age groups as it is very digestive. Sooji upma is perhaps one of the lightest and most underrated meals that can be enjoyed by one alongside their favourite coffee, tea or juice.Health benefits of UpmaSooji/rava upma is packed with a lot of nutrients and keeps your stomach and heart-healthy. A single bowl of upma is filled with vitamins, good calories, fiber, and rich fat.The low cholesterol and calorific value make it ideal for a balanced and healthy diet.Apart from these there are several other benefits of rava upma that are as follows:Maintains Kidney HealthPotassium is one of the macro minerals that are vital for the functioning of your kidneys.Rava upma is filled with this mineral.Maintains Heart HealthUpma is packed with nutrients and healthy calories. The presence of selenium is an excellent antioxidant. It has a low cholesterol value that helps protect your heart.Maintains EnergyThe fibrous nourishment that comes from vegetables helps you maintain energy.Good Iron ContentSooji upma contains iron which is excellent for your body. It gives a good boost to the immune system minimising the risk of anaemia. This also helps in the overall blood circulation of the body.Ingredients of UpmaRava/ Sooji upma is prepared in many ways using several vegetables, spices, herbs and even ghee. But, the traditional ingredients that are required to prepare upma are as follows:1 cup sooji (semolina)1 tablespoon of ghee or vegetable oil (whatever you prefer)1 tablespoon mustard seeds1 teaspoon urad dal1 small or medium onion chopped finely (about a cup) cup boiled or finely chopped carrots cup boiled green peas2 green chillies slit or diced2 cups waterSugar (optional)Salt as per your tasteNutritional value of UpmaSooji/rava is full of essential nutrients. Thus, upma is nutritious as well.The total calories in upma are around 250 grams per serve (210 per 100 grams).If you further break it down, it gives 45 grams of carbohydrates, 3.7 grams of fat, and 1.8 gram of protein. This makes it a perfect meal for an evening snack too.How to prepare UpmaHere's how you can prepare upma stepwise:1) Clean up one cup of sooji (semolina). Add it to a pan or kadhai and roast it on low to medium heat until it turns toasty. Keep stirring to prevent it from turning brown. If you are using a double-roasted sooji then roast it only for a minute. Transfer it to a bowl and set it aside.2) Return to the pan and add ghee/oil. Heat the pan at a medium flame and wait till the ghee/oil starts shimmering.3) Add the mustard and Urad dal (split black gram) seeds till they begin to splutter. This may take about 30- 40 seconds.4) Add the finely chopped onions, and fry until transparent (see to it that they do not turn brown or burn).5) Add chillies and curry leaves and wait for about a minute. Keep stirring until they leave their fragrance.6) Now add carrots, peas, and sugar (optional) and stir until the veggies turn slightly tender and are coated with ghee. This may take a minute and a half to cook.7) Pour 2 cups of water and add teaspoon salt. Mix well and taste the water. The water should be slightly salty. Bring the water to a boiling point on medium flame, then reduce the flame to low.7) Add the roasted rava/sooji on a very slow stream with one hand and constantly stir the mixture with the other. This dissolves the rava well in water without making it lumpy. Keep in mind that the water should be boiling when you add the rava.8) Stir vigorously and check for lumps. Break up if any. At this point, the mixture also begins to spurt. So be cautious!9) Once the water is absorbed then cover and cook. Rava upma tends to dry out soon, so turn off the heat when the mixture is gently runny. If you wish for a drier upma then keep the flame on for about two to three minutes extra.Serve the rava Upma when it is hot with a side of coconut chutney. Do not wait for it to cool down.Roasting RavaFor even roasting of rava, you need to keep stirring it on a low or medium flame in a cast iron pan. Toast the rava without any ghee or oil as it should be crunchy. Carefully, stir the rava granules and observe the signs of any colour change. It should also release a beautiful aroma once it is roasted. Look for a toasty colour and then turn off the flame. It should look crisp with a sand-like colour. It can also be pre-roasted and stored in a tight jar. This cuts down a lot of time if you ever plan to make upma in the future especially when running late.Special cooking tips for making UpmaThere are some amazing pro tips that one can follow to get the perfect rava upma. Follow these methods to simple methods to make your upma tastier:Choosing RavaThere are many kinds of rava available in the market, but fine sooji also known as Bombay Rava is specifically used for preparing upma. This is also known as granulated wheat. Avoid using coarse rava for upma as it generally takes longer to roast and does not give the desired result.PreparationsUpma can be prepared with few variations, you can make ragi upma, tomato upma or even a plain upma without any extra vegetables.LentilsUrad and chana dal enhance the flavour of upma by imparting the nutty aroma and giving it a good texture.Serving method:Upma tastes best when served hot. You can top it up with some sev, bhujiya with a sprinkle of lemon juice. This will satiate your spicy taste buds. Rava upma can also be served with a side of coconut chutney or lemon pickle for that extra zing.Important points to remember while making upmaAdding RavaOne must follow the traditional method of pouring rava in a slow stream. Make sure the water is boiling too. Constantly stir the mixture while you add rava with the other hand. This helps the rava/sooji to incorporate well into the water without forming lumps.Roasting RavaMake sure that your rava is roasted in the correct manner for the dish to come out tasty.Rava and water proportionsIf you are one of those who enjoys thick porridge over sticky, you can use about 3 or 4 cups of water for 1 cup rava. This recipe will not make your upma mushy.Larger batches of upma may need 2 to 2 cups of water per 1 cup of rava.Upma easily absorbs water. Thus, when making it in small quantities , cup of water is the exact ratio to be followed for cup of sooji. This will ensure that your upma is not sticky.Quantity of OilUsing a good amount of ghee or oil prevents the upma from turning very sticky. Use the amount of oil as mentioned in the preparation of this recipe.ConclusionUpma is a fairly easy dish to prepare and can be made in 20 minutes or so. Also, known as rava/sooji upma, it is a staple in most Indian homes. Hailing from South Indian homes it is a scrumptious meal thoroughly enjoyed in most parts of India. It is a flavorful dish packed with essential health benefits.FAQsWhy does my upma get lumpy?Upma only gets lumpy when the rava is not mixed well. In order, to avoid this, add the rava in batches and keep stirring. Keep in mind that a well-textured upma needs finer granules of rava.Can I add vegetables to the upma?Yes, you can! Adding vegetables further enhances the taste of upma.Can I add peanuts or cashew nuts to the upma?If you like peanuts or cashew nuts you can definitely add them. Though, peanuts taste better in it when grated and garnished.