MTR style Kharabath with podi

April 8, 2021 (Last Updated: December 14, 2021)

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?

5 from 2 votes

Saaru Podi

A spice mix from Karnataka that adds a oomph to anything you make! It is ideally used for a rasam, but is super versatile.
Course Spice Mixes
Cuisine Indian
Keyword gluten free, karnataka recipes
Prep Time 20 minutes


  • 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 best done with byadgi chillies. These are from Karnataka and have a beautiful bright red colour. They are also not very spicy so ideal for spice mixes.  I don’t have access to byadgi so I use a mix of Kashmiri chillies for colour and regular round chillies for spice.

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.

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5 from 2 votes

MTR Style Kharabath

A flavourful rava upma with vegetables and a freshly made spice mix that will leave you craving for more!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword 30 minute meals
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes


  • 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. 
Look at that kharabath!

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.

This recipe was first shared on my Instagram in May 2019.

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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  • Reply
    Rava Kesari - easy, fail-proof in a pressure cooker! - My Flavour Factory
    July 25, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    […] just like my kitchen famous ( ok and a bit on IG too) Kharabath, this also uses a pressure cooker only! That means limited stirring and lump free kesari. The […]

  • Reply
    July 26, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    5 stars
    This is a great recipe Arch. Just made this for dinner and we polished our plates. The rava was perfectly cooked. This is going to be my go to recipe now. Thank you for Arch.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2021 at 10:11 am

    5 stars
    Just tried this recipe and loved it so much that I’m taking the effort to leave a comment ☺️ The end result was just perfect even though I was a bit skeptical about the process. This is definitely going to be on repeat in our kitchen.

    • Reply
      August 5, 2021 at 12:09 am

      OH, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! I am glad it is going to be a repeat in your kitchen.

    • Reply
      August 5, 2021 at 12:09 am

      OH, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! I am glad it is going to be repeated in your kitchen.

  • Reply
    December 21, 2021 at 4:20 am

    Arch, thanks for the recipe. How would you do this in an instant pot? I don’t have a regular pressure cooker anymore.

    • Reply
      January 10, 2022 at 2:23 pm

      Hi Maru, to make in IP – cook in saute mode and close and cook on manual for 0 minutes. this will simply retain the heat inside the device for about 7-8 minutes which is enough to cook the rava. Open after pressure settles.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2022 at 12:25 am

    Looking very tasty amazing thank you so much.

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