A staple in most tambram households, ours was no different and this was a relished dish back home. The process is a multistep one and is not at all labor intensive to be feared. You can entirely cut down the process by a step when you use Rice Rava or Idli Rava. Please note this is entirely different from sooji/ wheat rava .
The idea that this being rice based, is more easier on the stomach for digestion unlike the sooji which is more stripped of its fiber content.
If you would like to make the rava at home, then you will simply have to coarsely powder the raw rice to a granular stage. Sieve it to get rid of the flour , so you have only the granular stage of rice with you.
There are 2 ways to make this
—— Take 2 cups of raw rice ( basmati, sona masoori ) and run it through your food processor/ blender to get the coarse stage.
—— In a wide wok, heat 2 -3 Tbsp. of Tuvar dal, 1 Tbsp. of channa dal and 1/2 tbsp of whole black pepper. Slightly warm it to get the flavors crackling and coarsely pound it along with the raw rice. This option has a more fiery outcome but is simply delicious .
For my preparation, I used the store bought Idli rice rava. I believe this would be the parboiled variety, but it works well too.
Serves : 6
Prep time :
- Stage 1 : Making the upma : 10-15 min
- Stage 2 : Cooling time 10 min
- Stage 3 : Making the globes : 15 min
- Stage 4 : Steaming : 12- 15 min
Makes about 18-24 ( depending on the size of the globe )
- Idli rava or Rice Rava – 2 cup
- Fresh or frozen grated coconut – 1/2 cup
- Water – 5 cup
- Salt : 1.5 tsp. ( adjusted to taste)
Tempering/ Tadka :
- Flavorless oil / coconut oil / Gingelly oil : 2.5 Tbsp.
- Jeera : 1.25 tsp.
- Mustard Seeds :1.25 tsp.
- Channa dal : 1.5 Tbsp.
- Split urad dal ( de husked ) : 1 Tbsp.
- Hing/ Asafoetida : a huge/ generous pinch
- Red chilies : 4 -5, split in 2 pieces each
- Black whole pepper : 6-8. slightly crushed
- Ginger : skinned, 1 inch , grated.
- Curry Leaves – 12
- You will need a heavy bottomed or good non stick kadai or saucepan for this with a well fitting lid.
- Heat the kadai/ sauce pan with the oil and temper with asafoetida, mustard seeds and jeera. Once the seeds crackle add the channa dal and urad dal and on golden -browning ( it is a term, I made it up ), add the split red chilies and curry leaves and ginger and black peppercorns.
- Add the 5 cups of water and when it reached a slight boil , add in the grated coconut and salt. Stir to ensure distribution of salt. Let it come to a full boil now.
- Once it reaches the full boil, lower the heat to medium and add the rice rava ( idli rava) and stir well.
- Cover with the lid and let it cook on low for about 7-8 minutes.
- The water would be completely absorbed when you open the lid after this time and you can turn off the flame now. Stir once again very well and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile get a steamer ready. You can use pressure cooker vessel with idli stand. It works perfect or I just used a colander over a pot of boiling water to steam it.
- Dip you hands in cold water or if you can handle the heat just go ahead, make big lemon or golf sized balls with cooked upma. I particularly like the round globes, but my grandma would make the oblong ones.
- Steam it for about 12 – 15 minutes.
- Let it stand for a couple of minutes and then serve hot with chutney and sambar.
- Usually the Idli rava / rice rava cooking ratio is 1 cup : 2 cups of water. But the brand I seem to use yields a very dry mix. Hence I increased the rava : water ratio. Use what works for you.
- I would not omit the grated coconut. It adds to tenderness of the upma outcome. It is worth it.
- If you do not have red chilies, use green chilies.
- Another variation would be to pulse the coconut along with few sprigs of cilantro. It yields a good flavor too.