Aval Upma (Poha Upma)

Updated: May 5, 2024, By Swasthi

Aval Upma is a simple South Indian breakfast dish made with flattened rice, tempering spices and curry leaves. Known by various names such as Poha Upma or atukula upma, it is a one pan dish that can be made under 25 minutes. It does not need any sides but a bowl of yogurt, podi or chutney makes for a good accompaniment.

Aval Upma - Poha Upma

Recipe Comments

About Aval Upma

Aval is the Tamil word for flattened rice and Upma is a south Indian dish of semolina, curry leaves and spices. In this recipe, semolina is replaced with flattened rice, hence the name Aval Upma. It is made much similar to the dish Poha but this one tastes different.

Flattened rice is a minimally processed product that comes from the whole grain paddy. The whole grain paddy is soaked, roasted and flattened to aval. So it is fiber rich and much more nutrient rich than the plain old white rice.

You find white and brown fiber-rich types in the market. While you can use any, I have used white aval here. There are thick, medium and thin kinds and you will use only the medium variety here.

The use of chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves and ginger impart South Indian flavors to this aval upma. If you have fresh or frozen raw coconut, you may use it to garnish. I also prefer to use tomatoes in this recipe to add tang, flavor and some moisture. But you are free to omit that if you do not want.

If you like to use mixed vegetables, you may use very finely chopped carrots, young tender green beans, peas and boiled potatoes. You need to keep them very small, saute and cook down with a splash of water until tender, before adding the softened aval.

More Aval recipes
Batata poha
Aval payasam
Aval ladoo
Poha chivda

Photo Guide

How to Make Aval Upma (Stepwise photos)

1. Add 2 cups poha to a bowl and rinse them well twice. Drain the water completely, cover and set aside to soften for 10 mins. Meanwhile prepare the following:

  • 1 medium onion (slice or chop)
  • 1 medium tomato (deseed and chop or omit and use lemon juice while serving)
  • 2 green chilies (chop or slit)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger grated or minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander leaves

After 10 mins, check the aval if they are soft. Press down a few flakes with your fingers. They should get mashed easily. Else sprinkle some water, mix and rest until the tempering is ready.

2. Pour 2 tablespoon oil to a hot pan. Add 3 tablespoons peanuts or 12 to 14 cashews and fry them until golden. Remove to a plate and reserve to garnish later. I did not reserve them in the pictures but I recommend doing that. Add

  • 1 teaspoon chana dal
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds. When they splutter, add 1 pinch of hing.
temper with spices to make aval upma

3. Add green chilis, ginger, onions and curry leaves.

Add green chilis and onions

4. When the onions turn transparent, add chopped tomatoes, half teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon turmeric. You can also skip tomatoes and use lemon juice towards the end of making it. Fry until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy. If the pan is too dry, add a splash of water and cook down.

add tomatoes and cook down

5. Add soaked poha and mix well. If your poha is too dry, sprinkle little water and mix well (do not pour). If using frozen cold coconut add 2 tablespoons at this stage.

Add soaked poha and coconut

6. Cover with a lid and steam cook on the lowest heat till aval upma turns hot. Turn off the stove. Taste test and add more salt if needed. Add lemon juice and garnish with 2 tablespoons fresh coconut (optional), fried peanuts and chopped coriander leaves.

mix aval with the upma tempering

Serve aval upma hot with curd or tea/coffee.

Aval Upma - Poha Upma Recipe

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Recipe Card

Aval Upma - Poha Upma Recipe

Aval Upma Recipe (Poha Upma)

5 from 42 votes
A simple South Indian style breakfast made with flattened rice (aval), tempering spices and curry leaves. Serve it on its own or with a side of yogurt, chutney or podi.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings2 to 3

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 2 cups aval (medium poha)
  • 1 medium onion sliced thinly or chopped
  • 2 green chilies slit or chopped
  • 1 medium tomato deseeded & chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice (adjust to taste) (optional)

To Temper

  • tablespoons oil
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera, optional)
  • 3 tablespoons peanuts (or cashews)
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal (black gram skinned & split)
  • 1 teaspoon chana dal (bengal gram) (optional)
  • ¼ to ⅓ teaspoon turmeric
  • teaspoon asafoetida (hing) (optional)

To Garnish (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raw coconut (fresh or frozen, grated)



  • Add aval to a bowl and rinse them well twice. Drain the water completely, cover and rest aside to soften until you prepare the other ingredients.
  • Check by pressing down a few grains of aval in between your fingers. They should be softened and get mashed easily. If they are still hard, then sprinkle little water and keep covered until the tempering is done.

How to Make Poha Upma

  • Heat oil in a pan and fry cashews or peanuts until golden & aromatic. Remove to a plate to garnish at the end. To the same pan, add chana dal, urad dal, mustard and cumin seeds.
  • Fry till the lentils turn golden and aromatic. Add hing, onions, green chilies, curry leaves and ginger.
  • Saute until the onions turn transparent and add tomatoes, turmeric and salt. Saute till the tomatoes break down to a mush and lose the raw flavor. If the pan is too dry, you may splash little water & cook.
  • Add softened poha and mix well. Cover and steam on a low heat until really hot and steaming. If your aval is too dry, sprinkle little water. (do not pour).
  • Turn off the stove and taste test. Add more salt if needed. Squeeze lemon juice and mix well. Garnish with fried peanuts/cashews, coconut and coriander leaves.
  • Serve aval upma hot with plain curd or tea/ coffee


  • Use medium to thick aval. Avoid using thin kind as they become mushy.
  • If using cold frozen coconut, add it to the pan along with softened poha. This warms up along with the aval.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Aval Upma Recipe (Poha Upma)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 255 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 168mg7%
Potassium 313mg9%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 270IU5%
Vitamin C 44.7mg54%
Calcium 46mg5%
Iron 6.5mg36%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Your recipe is awesome, page is so cool and good look, small suggestion is keep this comment tab below recipe rating and make little bolder, i was searching for that, it’s little unusual. As a ux designer this is my suggestion. Overall ux design is excellent

5 stars
Very nicely presented

5 stars
Tried and it came out very good and tasty

Love your recipes! Can I add potatoes?

Nice recipe and great writeup

5 stars
I love your cooking style.


Nice recipe. Today I tried first time. It was good.

5 stars
Poha upma???? I don’t know how to do before 10mins. But now, because of your recipe I have prepared it very well. Very very tasty. Infact, my hubby loved it….
Thank you swastika.

5 stars

5 stars
Made this today. My kids loved it. Thank you.

mam I visit so many blogs but I like yours so much because ur presentation is very nice and the step by step pictures also.

Hai day before yesterday itself I prepared very nice, my husband like this very much, and my mother in law also.

Very healthy recipe& easy tocook thank u

5 stars
Swasthi, you made this look so beautiful.

Your….poha..looks. .lovely. .I too made it yesterday.