Tomato Upma is a delicious South Indian Breakfast made with semolina, spices, curry leaves and ripe tomatoes. This Andhra style tomato upma is a variation of the basic Rava Upma, which is a staple in South India. Tomato upma tastes delicious on its own and you won’t need anything on the side. But Peanut podi, Curry leaves podi or Pickle & papads go well on the side.
I have made this with fine semolina known as suji or Bombay rava. On occasions I also make this with wheat rava (dalia) and even with bansi rava. Bombay rava has lesser fiber and is somewhat considered a refined food. So to make it a bit healthier I use wheat rava and bansi rava.
This recipe works good with all 3 kinds of rava. However you need to add more water for the last 2 kinds.
If you are bored with your regular upma, try out this tomato upma. It tastes delicious, spicy and slightly tangy from the tomatoes. I have not used any other vegetables here. But mixed veggies like carrots, peas and green beans (French beans) go well.
This recipe is made much the same way as the regular upma. We roast the semolina on a low heat, until aromatic and crunchy. This step prevents the tomato upma from turning sticky and prevents formation of lumps when you incorporate the rava into the boiling water.
Later we temper the spices like mustard, cumin, ginger and green chilies in oil or ghee. Next we also fry the cashew nuts and lentils until golden. Onions are stir fried for a brief time and then tomatoes are cooked until soft. This step is very essential to remove the raw flavor of tomatoes.
Lastly, we pour the water and bring it to a rolling boil. Incorporate the semolina into the boiling water by stirring continuously until all of the water is absorbed and the semolina is cooked through.
How to Make Tomato Upma (Stepwise Photos)
1. Add ½ cup rava to a kadai or pan. Roast on a medium flame until crunchy & slightly aromatic, making sure not to brown it. While roasting the rava, slice onions and chop tomatoes and green chilies. Set the rava aside preferably to a bowl for easy pouring.
Temper the Spices
2. Heat 1 to 1 ½ tablespoon oil or ghee. Ghee imparts a great aroma to your tomato upma. Add ½ mustard seeds, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon chana dal, 1 teaspoon urad dal and 10 split cashews all at one time. Fry until the dal turn golden.
3. Add 1 sprig curry leaves, 1 to 2 green chilies and 1 small chopped or sliced onion. Saute until the onions turn slightly pink. This takes about 1 to 2 mins.
4. Next add ¾ cup tomatoes (deseeded), 1/8 teaspoon turmeric and ¼ teaspoon salt. Saute for 1 to 2 mins.
5. Cover and cook until they turn mushy & completely soft. Saute for a few minutes on a high flame to enhance the flavor of tomatoes. This step also removes the raw flavor of tomatoes. Don’t skip this.
Make Tomato Upma
6. Add 1 ¼ cup water, stir and check the salt. The water must be slightly salty. Bring it to a rolling boil.
7. Reduce the flame to medium. Slowly pour rava in a stream to the boiling water. While you pour stir the water to incorporate the rava into the water. This also prevent lumps of rava.
8. Quickly stir once to make sure no lumps have formed.
9. Cover and cook until the moisture is absorbed. Stir well. Switch off and add coriander leaves. Cover and leave aside for 5 mins.
Grease a bowl with ghee and scoop the upma to it. Press down evenly with a spoon. Invert it on a plate and shake off gently. Garnish tomato upma with cashews and coriander leaves. Serve hot or warm.
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup semolina (rava/ suji)
- 1 ¼ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 to 1½ tablespoons ghee or oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon chana dal (bengal gram)
- 1 teaspoon urad dal (skinned black gram)
- 10 cashews , Split or as needed
- 1 to 2 green chilies slit
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 Pinch hing
- 1 onion , medium , sliced
- 2 pinches turmeric prefer organic
- ¾ cup tomatoes , chopped, ripe , (preferably deseeded)
- 2 tablespoons Coriander leaves , finely chopped (optional)
- Dry roast rava on a medium heat until it turns crunchy & aromatic. Stir constantly to prevent burning.
- While it toasts, Wash, deseed and chop tomatoes. Slice onions and green chilies.
- Transfer the rava to a bowl.
Making tomato upma
- Heat the same pan with oil or ghee.
- Add cumin, mustard, dal and cashews. Saute all together until the lentils become golden.
- Then add onions, curry leaves and green chilies. Saute for 2 to 3 mins. Sprinkle hing.
- Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric and salt. Saute for 2 mins. Cook covered on a medium heat until they turn mushy. Open the lid and saute on a medium high heat until all of the raw flavor vanishes from tomatoes.
- Pour water and bring it to a boil. Taste the water and adjust the salt. The water must be slightly salty.
- When the water comes to a boil, turn the fire to medium. Slowly pour the rava in a stream stirring with the other hand using a ladle. Stir well to check there are no lumps.
- Cook covered on a medium heat until the water is absorbed.
- Stir well. Add some more ghee (optional) & chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve tomato upma hot or warm.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Tomato Upma first published in August 2016. Updated and republished in July 2022.
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.
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