These steamed coarse ricemeal balls, Arisi Upma Kozhakattai, is my mom's specialty. She whips up a batch or two in no time at all and it is an all-day kind of meal - breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner, these taste good with suitable chutneys and dips.
Now, the recipe is my mom's, so, the measurements are not precise; which suits me fine as I rarely measure the ingredients before I cook.
Basically, coarse rice meal, "arisi ravai" or "rice idlee rava" as sold in Indian stores, is coarse ground raw rice about the texture of coarse cornmeal. It is versatile in south Indian tiffin/snack dishes.
This rice meal is cooked in water with some salt and oil to a fairly thick consistency - like the standard Upma - so as to be able to take a handful and shape into egg-shaped balls. Then, steamed gently and served hot with chutneys on the side. Alternately, I've tried this with leftover thick polenta shaped into ovoids and steamed as well.
During my fledgling days of pottering about in the kitchen, I often goofed up and made the upma too thick so that after steaming, they became hard as rocks, making my dad nickname them hand grenades. But, I think I've learnt a thing or two since then, so, am happy to make this dish whenever the mood calls for it.
2 cups rice idlee rava
½ cup dry grated coconut
4-5 cups hot water (more or less)
salt to taste
tempering: 1 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 2-3 dry red chilies (broken)
optional: ¼ cup toor dal, soaked for 2-3 hours and ground to a fine paste
- Heat oil in a pan and when shimmering add the mustard seeds, when they pop, add the dry red chilies, then add the hot water, some salt, and bring it to a boil
- Slowly add the rice meal while stirring constantly so as to not form any lumps
- Add the dry grated coconut and the toor dal paste, if using and stir till well incorporated
- Adjust salt to taste, cover and cook on low heat till all the water is absorbed and the rice idlee rava is cooked through and comes together to a medium-thick scoopable consistency
- Allow to cool a bit so it is easier to handle, and scoop a handful of it and form little oval balls
- Steam them in idlee cooker or other simple steamer apparatus for about 8-10 minutes
- Serve warm with chutneys like mint chutney or curry leaf chutney, or my favorite ridge gourd peel chutney