Upma is a South Indian breakfast made with semolina. Dry roasted semolina (suji/rava) is cooked with vegetables and seasoning (tadka/tempering). Read on to know the difference between stovetop and Instant Pot version, ingredients, and recipe video to make perfect IP upma.
Instant Pot upma step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
About this recipe
Upma is a South Indian breakfast made with semolina. Dry roasted semolina (suji/rava) is cooked with vegetables and seasoning (tadka/tempering). It has a thick porridge-like consistency and is mostly served on its own or with coconut chutney and yogurt. It can also be paired with tomato chutney.
This is one of the most common and popular breakfast dishes, not just in South India, but all over India. The perfect beverage to serve with it is a strong cup of filter coffee.
This healthy and nutritious dish is also packed for lunchboxes and is served as a quick and easy meal. It is called uppittu in Kannada, uppindi in Telugu, uppuma un Tamil, and upma in Hindi. When made in an Instant Pot, this rava khichdi is ready in just 15 minutes.
There are many variations of making this dish and the most common way of making it is on a stovetop. However, making it in an Instant Pot is the best way to cook it. Read on to know the difference between the stovetop and Instant Pot versions, ingredients, and recipe video to make the perfect IP upma. For a variation, try the vermicelli upma recipe or this ragi upma recipe.
Semolina: Or suji/rava, this is the main ingredient. I use a thick variety of roasted upma rava (also called Bansi rava). If the suji is not roasted, dry roast it first until it is golden brown before using it (see tips section below).
Ghee: I use ghee to make this dish; however, you may replace it with the cooking oil of your choice.
Vegetables: I have used onion, tomato, green beans, peas, and carrots.
Spices: I use mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal, and urad dal.
Instant Pot versus stovetop
Upma is a dish that almost every Indian household would make. It goes without saying that this dish is almost always made on a stovetop - in a pan or kadhai (Indian wok). Then why use an Instant Pot? In terms of time taken, it is almost the same for both although I would say you save a couple of minutes in the Instant Pot. What really makes the difference is the texture.
Making it in an Instant Pot gives you soft and fluffy upma whereas achieving that texture on a stovetop takes practice. Also, the upma tends to burn if not monitored on a stovetop whereas it is set-and-forget in the IP. IP upma has almost a khichdi texture and is perfect for the kids. This is also better if you plan to pack it in the lunchbox as the stovetop upma may turn hard and dry by the time you eat it.
This is such a simple dish and I have made it a million times on the stovetop. Honestly, I was a bit apprehensive to make it in the IP. It took me a few trials to get it right but this is how I make it now and we all love it.
Related: Rava ladoo.
1. Set the Instant Pot in saute mode and add 2 tablespoons of ghee. Once it heats, add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
2. Add cumin seeds, chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves, and cashew.
3. Saute for one minute (until the cashew is light brown).
4. Add onions and saute until the onion is translucent (3-4 minutes).
5. Add ginger and green chili. Mix well and saute for one minute.
6. Add tomatoes, peas, green beans, carrot, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix well and saute for 2 minutes.
7. Add 5 cups of water and mix well. Set the IP to saute - more for 5 minutes.
8. Add suji once the water boils. Mix well and secure the IP lid.
9. Set the Instant Pot on pressure cook mode for 2 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure and open the lid.
10. Add coconut, coriander leaves, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon ghee. Mix well.
11. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Use thick variety upma rava. I use roasted Bansi rava. If you are using an unroasted one, dry roast it first until it is light brown and then use it. Roasted suji is easily available in any grocery store in India and in Indian grocery stores outside of India.
Cut the vegetables into small and even pieces so that they will cook evenly.
Do not change the rava to water ratio mentioned in this recipe. We need this amount of water to achieve the perfect texture.
Let the water come to a boil before adding suji. Set the Instant Pot in saute mode (more) and it will not take more than 5 minutes.
Check out this recipe to make authentic Maharashtrian sabudana khichdi.
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Use thick variety rava to make upma. In South India, mainly Karnataka, the variety used is called Bansi rava. I have used roasted Bansi rava here. Roasted suji is easily available in any grocery store in India and in Indian grocery stores outside of India.
Bansi rava is the most common semolina variety used to make upma and is more popular in South India, especially Karnataka. It has a darker color when compared to regular semolina, which is white. It also is coarser than white rava. White rava is called Bombay rava or chiroti rava in south India.
Semoline/rava/suji is easily available in most grocery stores in India and in Indian grocery stores outside of India. Many supermarkets and online stores also sell semolina.
Green beans, peas, carrots, corn kernels, etc. works very well. You can also use capsicum (bell pepper), potatoes, fresh hyacinth beans, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. can also be used.
Upma is usually served on its own. It can also be paired with plain yogurt, chutney, or an Indian pickle.
This dish is:
- very easy to make
- healthy, nutritious, and filling
- perfect for lunchboxes and quick meals
Instant Pot Upma
- 1½ cups semolina thick variety (roasted)
- 3 tablespoon ghee divided (use store-bought or homemade ghee)
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon chana dal (Bengal gram)
- 1 teaspoon urad dal (split black gram)
- 10 curry leaves
- 6-8 cashew
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- ½ inch ginger grated
- 1-2 green chili finely chopped
- 1 small tomato
- ½ cup peas
- 1 medium carrot cut into small cubes
- 6-8 green beans chopped
- ¼ cup coconut fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon coriander leaves
- Set the Instant Pot in saute mode and add 2 tablespoons of ghee
- Once it heats, add mustard seeds and let it splutter
- Add cumin seeds, chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves, and cashew. Saute for one minute
- Add onions and saute until the onion is translucent (3-4 minutes)
- Add ginger and green chili. Mix well and saute for one minute
- Add tomatoes, peas, green beans, carrot, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix well and saute for 2 minutes
- Add 5 cups of water and mix well. Set the IP to saute - more for 5 minutes
- Add suji once the water boils. Mix well and secure the IP lid
- Set the Instant Pot on pressure cook mode for 2 minutes
- Do a quick release of the pressure and open the lid
- Add coconut, coriander leaves, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon ghee. Mix well and let it sit for 5 minutes
- Serve hot