Kharabath is the Karnataka cousin of our beloved Rava Kichadi, except it is posh and well, more flavourful. I learned about Kharabath from MTR, the famous restaurant chain in Bangalore ( well, I know only the Singapore branch)
In one of our first visits, Arun ordered a Kharabath. I scorned and asked him who on earth orders a Rava upma at a restaurant? I take it back, wholeheartedly because OMG, Kharabath is Rava Upma on steroids!
This Kharabath takes the Rava upma love to a different level. My very Bangalore food-loving husband approves of it and asks for it often. I have also served it to so many friends from Bangalore who concur this is as close as it can be to the place!
There are two parts to this recipe. The first is to make a spice mix, also known as Saaru Podi in the Udupi region. Several recipes use Vangibath podi to make Kharabath, but in my experience, this gives a much richer flavour closer to how it is at MTR.
How is this different from a vegetable rava upma?
I am glad you asked. It is after all – similar to an upma with vegetables, isn’t it? EXCEPT, it is not!
I use an amazing freshly ground podi in this recipe. Called the saaru podi, it is an amazing condiment to have in your pantry. It can be used to make saaru (rasam), to flavour curries – especially bitter gourd, and for this kharabath. This is used in the Udupi region of Karnataka, India often to make a variety of dishes.
Should I really roast and make a spice mix for a upma?
I will say – YES. Do this once and let it blow your mind. OK? Let’s make some Saaru podi, ok?
- 1/2 cup red chillies
- 1/2 cup coriander seeds/dhaniya
- 1 tbsp urad dal
- 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds/methi
- Add 1 tsp coconut oil to a pan in moderate heat. Roast urad dal followed by corainder seeds, fenugreek and cumin. Remove from heat and cool.
- In an almost dry pan, on low heat add the chillies and dry roast till it darkens. Remove and cool. Be sure not to burn any of the spices.
- Once fully cool, add to a blender/mixie jar and make a coarse powder
- The podi can be stored in an airtight container for upto two weeks and for much longer in a fridge.
This is a one pot dish – a pressure cooker at that!
YES, you read that right. I make this rava upma in a pressure cooker. I make all rava and wheat rava based dishes like upma, kharabath and even Kesari in a pressure cooker. I have a few reasons for it.
- It eliminates almost all stirring and that is a huge win already. You will know what I mean if you have ever tried making upma.
- It ALWAYS gives lump free upmas.
- The active ‘cooking’ time is less than 10 minutes. What is not to love about that?
If you do not want to use a cooker ( or if you do not have one), you can also do this in a pan. All instructions are in the recipe card below.
MTR Style Kharabath
- 2 tbsp oil use a neutral oil like vegetable oil or canola oil
- 1 tbsp ghee substitute with oil for a vegan version
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp urad dal
- 1.5 tsp channa dal
- 2 tbsp chopped cashews
- 2 green chillies slit
- 1 tsp grated ginger about 1 inch
- 7-8 curry leaves
- 1/2 cup rava/semolina
- 1 cup mixed vegetables, finely chopped i use a mix of carrots, beans, peas, capsicum
- 1/4 cup chopped onions optional, but recommended
- 1-2 tbsp saaru podi depending on your preferred spice level
- 1.5 cups hot water use hot boiling water straight from a kettle or another vessel
- 1 tsp salt
- coriander leaves, coconut and lemon for garnish
- Prepare the vegetables – chop mixed vegetables, onions, grate ginger and slit the green chillies.
- In a pot, keep 1.5 cups water to boil.
- Place a 2 litre pressure cooker on medium flame. Add the oil and saute mustard, urad, chana dal till golden brown.
- Add ginger, onions, curry leaves, vegetables and saute for a minute.
- Add rava, cashews and saute until the cashews turn brown. This indicates the rava is roasted too.
- Add 1-2 tbsp saaru podi, salt to taste and stir well to combine. This whole process takes about 5 minutes so far.
- Once the water has come to a boil, add it to the pressure cooker and close with the whistle/weight on it.
- Turn off the flame and keep the cooker closed off the flame ( yes, you read that right).
- Open after 20 minutes for a delicious, fluffy upma! Use a fork to lightly fluff the upma
- Add coriander leaves, a sprinkle of fresh coconut and a little lemon juice (optional) for garnish.
- This recipe does need this must fat. Do not try skimp on it else rava tastes starchy and gooey. For a perfect rava upma, fat is essential.
- If you are making it for a special day, I highly recommend adding an additional spoon of ghee at the end.
- Instead of rava, wheat rava (samba rava) can also be used. I do this often and it may take slightly more water ( about 1.75 cups), so keep that in mind when trying.
This recipe is one of my favourites! When I first shared it on Instagram a year ago, so many tried. It still is one of the most tried recipes from my feed and I get so much feedback on it.
One of the common questions I get asked for this recipe is – HOW MANY WHISTLES?
and the answer is NONE! I repeat – no need to keep on flame after you have added hot water to the hot rava. The key is for both elements to be hot, else this will not work. There are very few things that will amaze you as much as opening a cooker and seeing perfect kharabath with every grain of rava fully cooked and fluffy! I hope you try it to experience it once.
How does this recipe work?
It works because the cooker is a sealed container that cooks the rava in ‘retained heat’. For this recipe to work perfectly – the rava has to be hot and the water you are adding has to be hot too. The resting time of 20 minutes ‘cooks’ the rava and vegetables in the heat that is trapped into the cooker.
Where is the MTR Kharabath recipe from?
This recipe is from the collective wisdom and generosity of several people.Chitvish, for generously sharing the retained heat cooking method on her app AskChitvish Premium for rava Kesari, the saaru podi recipe is from a Facebook group on one pot one shot cooking and the ‘recipe’ for a karnataka style kharabath is from the Swayampakka youtube channel.
Getting it all together to make this kharabath, well that’s just me. That is what your girl does well – finding easy delicious ways to cook food!
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help me learn more about your preferences and other readers.
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