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.
75 years of experience all bundled in a 5 feet petite frame. Hands that have worked a gazillion times to feed much of the family, friends of the family, extended family and friends of the extended family. And not necessarily gone by the book. She does not need measuring cups and tools. Her weathered hands just scoops and scores. Nothing fancy about it , but the taste is always impeccable.
A bit of this and bit of that, and much love added as well. The age has definitely slowed down the bundle of activity a lot and I am witness to it . And just as to defy it, she clears the fridge out of 3 bundles of cilantro – fresh and not so fresh ones and makes her spice mix . Oh and what a hit it is at home. The flavor and aroma of it is simply outstanding and is a great accompaniment to everything from Idli’s and Dosai’s to a great topping on buttered toasts and sprinkled over fresh plain yogurt…Just eat it plain, with oil, swirled in yogurt or as you wish…Whatever you do , do not miss out on this one !
A great way to finish up large bunches of abundant cilantro or coriander leaves, a great substitute for regular coconut or tomato chutney and molagaipodi, a wonderful spice flavoring for rice and an awesome way to eat up large quantities of green. A finger licking concoction from the hands of a culinary expert , my MIL .
Prep time : 10-15 min + over night drying time for washed coriander leaves
Active time : 15 min
Shelf life : 1 month , best stored in refrigerator to prevent loss of flavor
- Fresh coriander bunches, trimmed : 3 -4, large bunches
- Channa Dal : 1/2 cup
- Split, de husked Urad dal : 1/2 cup
- Dry red chilies – 10 ( spicy kind)
- Dry Bydagi or kashmiri chilies – 4 ( non spicy, but adds vibrant hue)
- Sesame Oil/ Saffola oil/ canola oil : 2 Tbsp.
- Asafoetida : A generous pinch ( 1 tsp.)
- Salt : 1.5 tsp. + adjusted to taste
- Dry tamarind : 3-6 inches
- Powdered Jaggery : 1/2 tsp.
- Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp.
Preparation of the coriander leaves:
- Trim the ends of the large bunches. I simply twisted out about 3 inches from the bottom to remove the stems. Wash in cold water very well. At least 3-4 times to remove the impurities.
- Spread out on a paper towel or napkin, in a cool dry place to dry in shade. I usually do this very late in the evening and it dries overnight on the counter.
Preparation of the dry chutney mix:
- In a wide skillet add half a tbsp. of the oil of choice and roast dry chilies and dry tamarind and set aside to cool.
- Add in additional 1 Tbsp. of oil and roast the channa dal and urad dal sequentially to yield brown roasted lentils. Do not speed up this process. You will have burnt lentils on your hand. Medium high is the way to go. Also do not roast both the lentils together. Channa dal takes time to roast and split urad dal will brown faster. So take it step by step. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Add in the remaining half tbsp. of oil and add the washed, dried cilantro with turmeric and half a tsp. of salt and wilt the cilantro. I believe this will also preserve the green color of the leaves. Remove and set aside to cool
- In a blender, add the red chilies and roasted tamarind and blend to a coarse mix and set aside in a mixing bowl.
- Add in the dals and jaggery and salt and whiz to a very coarse mix and empty out in the same mixing bowl.
- Add in the wilted cilantro and whiz a couple of times to shred it, add in the dal- chili mix to give a final couple of spins to yield a very coarse, granular, dry mix.
- Remove , taste test for salt and spices and store in cool dry place. As in my case, these were transferred to mason jars and stored in the refrigerator.
Notes: Do not over blend , you will be left with a thick paste. Pulsing is the way to go. Your aim is to have a coarse powdery mix of cilantro and lentils. You will notice the natural flavor and texture of cilantro this way. Another option is to roughly chop the cilantro after drying it and before wilting it in the skillet. This way you will have more even mix rather than rustic texture. Either way you cannot go wrong with it.
Pic ref : If you are wondering above the tag on Manirathnam on one of my pictures it refers to a maverick and extremely talented director of Indian cinema – who made movies using the diffused and dark light effect. When I shot this picture, I thought of him 🙂