Upma & Pesarattu (Moong Dal Dosa)

If you are waking up on a Sunday morning and wondering what’s for brunch…. here’s one idea!


Upma is a fairly common breakfast or snack (tiffin) item in Southern India. Typically it is made with cream of wheat with choice of vegetables of personal preference. It can also be made with Bulghur wheat or vermicelli.

Continuing my dosa series, here is one made-from scratch dosa that is fast, healthy, nutritious and tasty to boot. Pesarattu is a kind of dosa made from pesara pappu or moong dal or yellow split pea.  Compared to other made-from scratch dosas, this requires very short preparation time, is very easy to make and requires few ingredients.


Both upma and pesarattu are individual breakfast items but quite frequently are combined and served together.  It is very popular especially at wedding breakfasts. The upma is simpler than the stand alone version and is devoid of all the colorful palate of vegetables. In the past I have posted variations of Upma using Quinoa, Coucous and Amaranth. The steps to make upma are exactly the same irrespective of what main ingredient you use.


When making upma for pesarattu I typically use the following formula learned from my mother. It tends to be a little more greaser than the normal one. And what I remember of it is feeling the crunch of ginger as you take a bite!

First make the preparation for the pesarattu.

Ingredients for the Pesarattu:
1 cup pesara pappu (De-husked and Split Green Gram)
1-2 jalapenos
some cilantro
a piece of ginger

The yellow split pea after being soaked for an hour.


To reduce the preparation time, use 2-3 cups warm water to soak the pesara pappu. After 45 minutes to an hour, the pappu will swell and almost double in size. In a grinder, blend the pappu with cilantro, ginger and jalapenos into a smooth thick batter using a little water. Add salt to taste. Set aside until ready to make the dosa.


Ingredients for the Upma:
1/2-3/4 cup cup rava (cream of wheat)
1 medium onion chopped
1-2 jalapeno sliced into circles
a few curry leaves
a handful of cashews
1 tbsp chana dal
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 small piece of ginger chopped
1-2 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp oil

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the seasoning ingredients – chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds and cashews and fry till lightly brown. Add jalapeno and curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds. Add onion and ginger and continue frying till the onions turn translucent. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower to medium and continue cooking. Add salt to taste. When the onions are cooked, lower the flame to medium low and slowly start adding the rava while mixing to prevent lumps. Add enough rava that it holds together but not too much that it breaks into chunks. Add the ghee and leave on for a few more minutes. Remove and set aside.


Once the upma is ready and the pesarattu batter is ready, heat a flat frying pan on the stove on medium. Lightly grease with a little oil or cooking spray. For thicker dosas keep the batter thick. For thin dosas, add water to the batter to dilute it a little. Pour 2-3 tbsp of the batter on the heated pan and roll out into a thin crepe. Add a little oil and cook until it starts to brown. This is one of the easiest dosas to make since it does not stick to the pan and starts to peel once it is brown on the side. Using a spatula flip it and cook until cooked. Place the dosa in a plate with the crispy side face down. Add some upma and fold the attu over it and serve warm.


If making only pesarattu, I usually like to sprinkle the attu with finely chopped onion and chopped cilantro. Optionally you can also add chopped jalapeno.


It is excellent when eaten with some sweet and sour ginger pickle!


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