Aval Upma Recipe | Poha Upma | How To Make Aval Upma

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The upma made with sooji/rava or cream of wheat (semolina) is a very common breakfast dish, especially in the western and southern parts of India. It is also popular as different variations under different regional names as well. Here, on this post, I have shared an Aval Upma, which is typically a Poha Upma from Tamil Nadu in South India. Like any other poha recipe, this one is also an easy and tasty breakfast recipe made with thick flattened rice (poha), some veggies and other basic ingredients.

aval upma served on a green plate with text layover.

About Aval Upma

Both poha and Upma are quite a favorite choice for breakie, when it comes to me and my family. So, I regularly make both these dishes at home. What I love the most about these preparations is that they are quick to prepare and are quite nutritious too.

This recipe of Poha Upma is actually a South Indian version (Tamil, to be more precise). Hence, also referred to as Aval Upma as the Tamil word for ‘poha’ is ‘aval.’ At home, whenever I make the regular Maharashtrian Poha recipe, I usually have 2 variations for it – one with kanda (onion) and the other with kanda and batata (onion and potato).

Other than the flattened rice or poha, this Aval Upma has more or less those ingredients which are traditionally used in a rava upma. Like mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal, ginger, green chilies, curry leaves, onion, cashews, etc.

Some added ingredients in this specific Tamil style Poha Upma are asafoetida, coconut and turmeric powder due to which it is also yellow in color, and not white. In case you want to make a vegan-friendly version of this upma, skip the asafoetida.

More on Aval Upma

I also add some vegetables like potato, carrot and green peas in this Aval Upma. But this is not mandatory, as I may skip adding these sometimes. You can steam the veggies first and then add or cook the veggies along with the tempering and then add the poha. Choose whatever is easy for you.

However, if you are cooking the vegetables with the tempering for this Poha Upma, then you will have to add some water. Cover the pan and cook the veggies. Once the vegetables soften, simmer till the moisture dries up before adding the flattened rice.

Poha or flattened rice/beaten rice/parched rice is used extensively in Indian cuisine. Just like this Aval Upma, there are a variety of other dishes that you can make with this wonder ingredient, which is basically a form of rice. Some more well-known Indian preparations with flattened rice include:

You can serve this wholesome vegetable Poha Upma with your morning cup of tea or coffee or also as a hearty evening snack.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Aval Upma

Preparation

1. You will need to steam vegetables, if you plan to add them. I used 1 potato, 1 carrot and ⅓ cup green peas. Once steamed, peel and chop the potato and carrot and keep aside. You can also cook the vegetables directly with the tempering in the pan or skip the vegetables.

vegetables for poha upma.

2. Rinse 2 cups thick poha with water in a colander or strainer for a couple of times. Move the poha with your hands while rinsing. The poha just needs to get softened. So, rinse gently.

rinsing thick poha for poha upma.

3. Add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon sugar and salt as required to the poha.

turmeric powder, sugar and salt added to the rinsed poha for poha upma.

4. Mix gently. Keep aside.

ingredients mixed well with the rinsed poha for poha upma.

Making tempering

5. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil and add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds.

mustard seeds added to hot oil in a pan for poha upma.

6. When the mustard seeds crackle, add 1 teaspoon chana dal (optional), 1 teaspoon urad dal (optional) and 10 to 12 cashews. You can also add 1 tablespoons peanuts, instead of cashews.

chana dal, urad dal and cashews added to hot oil for poha upma.

7. Stir and sauté till both the dals and cashews turn golden.

sautéing dals and cashews.

8. Now, add ⅓ cup finely chopped onion, 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger, 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies, 1 dried red chili, 8 to 10 curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida (optional).

finely chopped onion, finely chopped ginger, chopped green chilies, dried red chili, curry leaves and asafoetida added to the pan.

10. Stir and sauté till the onions turn translucent.

sautéing till onions turn translucent.

Making Aval Upma

11. Add the vegetables

vegetables added to the pan.

12. Stir very well.

vegetables stirred well with the onion mixture.

13. Then, add the poha.

prepared poha mixture added to the pan.

14. Stir and mix gently. Check the taste and add more salt or sugar, if required.

poha stirred gently with the rest of the ingredients.

15. Ensure that everything gets mixed evenly and cook on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes. After mixing, you can also cover the pan and allow the Poha Upma to steam for 3 to 4 minutes on low heat.

cooking aval upma.

16. Lastly, add 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves and mix gently. You can also add 2 to 3 tablespoons grated fresh coconut, drizzle some lime or lemon juice and mix.

chopped coriander leaves added to the cooked aval upma.

17. Serve Aval Upma hot or warm with lemon or lime slices or Lemon Pickle.

aval upma served on a green plate.

Expert Tips

  1. While rinsing the flattened rice or poha, make sure to move it with your hands. It just needs to get softened. So, make sure to rinse gently.
  2. You can make this upma with or without veggies. If adding veggies, you can steam and add them. Or cook them directly with the tempering in the pan.
  3. If adding green peas, choose either fresh or frozen. Add whatever is available in your home kitchen.
  4. Chana dal (split husked Bengal gram), urad dal (split husked black gram) and asafoetida (hing) are optional in this recipe. You can make this upma without these as well.
  5. Instead of cashews, you can also add 1 tablespoon peanuts in this recipe.
  6. You can increase the quantity of green chilies if you want to have a spicier upma.
  7. Before serving, you can garnish the upma with grated fresh coconut and drizzle some lemon juice on top and mix. Or else you can also serve the upma with lemon slices on the side.

More Aval Recipes To Try!

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aval upma recipe, poha upma recipe

Aval Upma | Poha Upma

This vegetable poha upma is a quick and tasty snack recipe of upma made with flattened rice, mixed veggies, herbs and spices.
4.73 from 11 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine South Indian
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Snacks
Diet Vegan
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 3 to 4
Units

Ingredients

prep ingredients for aval upma

  • 2 cups thick poha (parched rice or flattened rice)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon sugar or add as per taste
  • salt as required

veggies

  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 small to medium carrot
  • 1/3 cup green peas – fresh or frozen

tempering and other ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chana dal (split husked bengal gram)
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal (split husked black gram)
  • 10 to 12 cashews or 1 tablespoon peanuts
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 1 or 2 green chilies – chopped
  • ½ inch ginger – finely chopped
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped or 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoon grated coconut (optional)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 small lime or lemon for serving

Instructions
 

prepping veggies

  • You will need to steam veggies if you plan to add them. I used 1 potato, 1 carrot and some peas. 
  • Once steamed, peel and chop the potato and carrot and keep aside. You can also cook the veggies directly with the tempering in the pan. You can even skip the veggies.

prepping poha

  • Rinse 1 cup thick poha in water in a colander or strainer for a couple of times. The poha just need to get softened. So rinse gently.
  • Add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, sugar and salt to the poha.
  • Mix gently. Keep aside.

tempering and making poha upma

  • In a pan, heat 2 tbsp oil and add 1 tsp mustard seeds.
  • When the mustard seeds crackle, add 1 tsp chana dal (optional), 1 tsp urad dal (optional) and 10 to 12 cashews. You can also add peanuts instead of cashews.
  • Stir and saute till both the dals and cashews turn golden.
  • Now add 1/3 cup finely chopped onion, 1 tsp finely chopped ginger, 1 tsp chopped green chilies, 1 dry red chili, 8 to 10 curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida (optional).
  • Stir and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  • Add the veggies and stir very well.
  • Then add the poha. Stir and mix gently. Check the taste and add more salt or sugar if required.
  • Ensure that everything gets mixed evenly and cook on a low flame for 3 to 4 minutes. After mixing you can also cover the pan and allow the upma to steam for 3 to 4 minutes on a low flame.
  • Lastly add 2 to 3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and mix gently. 
  • You can also add 2 to 3 tbsp grated coconut at this step. You can also drizzle some lime or lemon juice and mix. Or serve the poha upma with lime slices.
  • Serve poha upma hot or warm with lemon or lime slices or a lemon pickle.

Notes

  • The addition of vegetables is optional.

This Aval Upma Recipe from the archives was first published in June 2015. It has been updated and republished in April 2024.

Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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39 Comments

  1. I am an American who loves cooking authentic Indian food. Your recipes are instructive and easy to follow. Thank you!

    1. Thanks a lot Jennifer and glad to read your feedback. Most welcome and happy cooking.