Aval Upma

Aval Upma is the Tamil cousin of Maharashtra’s celebrated Kande Pohe, and it makes for some delicious tea-time tiffin (as South Indians call their snacks) or a hearty breakfast.

The base of the Aval Upma is aval which is nothing but flattened grains of rice that cook up in no time at all. In fact, it takes a lot less time to cook up this perfectly sumptuous dish than you’d honestly believe. Even better, it’s an extremely healthy dish because you can add to it all kinds of veggies and peanuts. You can find brown rice aval in Indian supermarkets that cooks up in about the same time as the white rice version. I prefer the brown-rice aval, but the grocery store was out of it the last time I visited.

I kept my Aval Upma pretty simple by adding to it some red bliss potatoes and onions, but green peppers would be perfect in here, as would peas, zuccini, or even tomatoes.

I have to run now, but not before sharing the recipe, of course. Hope everyone’s enjoying the long weekend!

Aval Upma

(Makes four servings)


2 cups aval or pohe (flattened rice, available in Indian grocery stores). Before you go ahead with another step in this recipe, place the aval in a large colander and wash under running water for a minute. Set the colander and aval aside while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

1 tsp black mustard seeds

2 dry red chillies

15 curry leaves

1 tsp canola or other vegetable oil

1 small onion, finely minced

2 potatoes, skins scrubbed clean. Cut the potatoes into a small dice and then zap them in a microwave with 1 tbsp water until the potatoes are tender, about 4-5 minutes.

1/4 cup peanuts

1/4 cup coconut milk (use coconut shreds if you’d rather)

Chopped green coriander, for garnish

Lemon juice

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the mustard seeds and when they sputter, add the dry red chillies and curry leaves.

Add the onions and saute, stirring, until the onions begin to soften. Add the potatoes and stir to mix.

Add the peanuts and toss together for another two minutes. Add the coconut milk, mix, then add the drained aval and salt to taste.

Toss the aval and the vegetables together well and check for salt. Turn off the heat and add coriander leaves.

To serve, place in bowls and spritz with some lemon juice (in India, the aval is served with a little wedge of lemon on the side). Eat hot.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Get new recipes by email. Sign up below.


  1. says

    the upma looks delicious..u should do like a breakfast/snack round up!… some days i am out of ideas for savory breakfast.. the white rice gives me a carb high unless i add enough nuts in it.. then it becomes nuts poha or upma.. rather than rice:)

    Richa @ Hobby And More Food Blog

  2. says

    Richa, yeah, I like the nuts too for the higher protein content.’

    Kalyani, Sharmilee, Manju, Priya, thanks!

    Usha, the only thing most people go wrong with is soaking the aval, really. I just soak it first thing before I start on the rest of the recipe and it’s perfect each time.

Leave a comment!