Tuesday “Samaithu Paar” Series- Savory Flaked Rice Porridge/ Puli Aval Upma

Flaked rice known as “aval” in Tamil and “poha” in Hindi is commonly used in the US to brew beer. Apparently it gives a crisp and light finish to ales and lagers. In India it used to make a variety of savory and sweet dishes. This type of flaked rice porridge with tamarind is quite new to me and I tasted this for the time at my friend DJ’s house, she had added rasam (south Indian soup)powder and a pinch of brown sugar to the flaked rice in addition to tamarind and it was spicy, tangy, subtly sweet and delicious. Subsequently I found a recipe for flaked rice porridge with tamarind/puli aval upma in Meenakshi Ammal’s  “Cook and See” part 1 and it was quite similar to what DJ had made. I decided to make this for dinner last night and paired it with a side of steamed veggies. This porridge/upma is very light on the stomach, full of flavor and can be made in 10minutes.

puli aval upma


2 cup flaked rice/thick aval (available in Indian grocery stores)

1 teaspoon tamarind paste, mixed in 2 tablespoons of water

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 tablespoon oil (original recipe has 3 tablespoons oil)

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 teaspoons Bengal gram/channa dal

2 teaspoons black gram/urad dal

2 dry red chilies (original recipe has 5 chilies)

1/2 teaspoon asafetida powder

4 green chilies ( I didn’t use)

4-5 curry leaves


1. Grind the flaked rice to a coarse powder in a food processor.

2. Add tamarind water, salt, turmeric powder to the coarsely ground flaked rice and mix well. Set aside.

3. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat and when its hot, add mustard seeds. Let it pop.

4. Add Bengal gram, black gram and dry red chilies. Fry for 30 seconds till the lentils turn reddish brown.

5. Add asafetida powder, curry leaves and green chilies (optional),  fry for 30 seconds.

6. Add the flaked rice soaked in tamarind water to the above and mix well to coat with spices. Cook for about 5minutes till it is thoroughly heated.


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