Mamta's Kitchen

Semolina Utthapam From South India, Reeta's

Utthappam from Rava (Sooji)

Reeta Kumar

Pictures courtesy of Rukmani Garga of Jwalapur

Utthappam is a thick, savoury, Dosa like pancake from South India. It contains other ingredients like onions, green chillie, tomatoes, curry leaves and other vegetables of choice, like green/bell peppers and mushrooms. Vegetables should be chopped small enough to be able to cook quickly along with the batter. Makes 8-10

This is traditionally a vegetarian dish, but experiment with other topping, like prawns, pieces of smoked mackerel or salmon, pieces of cooked ham slices, chicken etc. See picture by Mike Smith at the end of the page.


  • For batter:

  • 1 cups semolina (rava or sooji)

  • 1 cup yoghurt or dahi or curd

  • 2 medium tomato chopped finely

  • 1 medium size onion, peeled and chopped finely

  • 2 green chillies, chopped finely (adjust amount to taste)

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. baking powder (Optional: some people add baking powder to make utthapam lighter).

  • For tarka or tempering:

  • 1 tsp. oil

  • 1 tsp. black mustard seeds or rai

  • 10-12 curry leaves

  • Oil for pan frying


  1. Place semolina, salt and yoghurt in a bowl and mix well. You may need to add a little water to get the correct batter like consistency; it should not be runny. It should be of thick enough consistency to ‘hold’ the vegetables together.

  2. Tarka or tempering:

  3. Heat oil in a ladle. Add mustard seed. As soon as they start popping, add curry leaves. Stir with a little spoon and pour over the batter. Stir into the batter.

  4. Keep batter aside for 15-20 minutes to allow the semolina to swell up and soften.

  5. Making Utthapam:

  6. Heat a tava or any thick bottomed frying pan or skillet.

  7. Add 2 tsp. oil and spread it around to cover the entire surface.

  8. Pour 1 medium sized ladle full of batter over the tava/pan and spread it gently to about 1 to 1 1/2 cm. or 1/2 inch thick and approximately 15 cm. or 6 inches in diameter.

  9. Sprinkle vegetables on top, evenly.

  10. Spoon a little more oil from the sides of the utthapam and cover with a lid. Steam cooks it through better when covered.

  11. After 3-4 minutes, gently turn it over, using a flat spatula. Press it gently all over, to make it crisper and cook fully. You may need to pour a little more oil from the sides from time to time. The amount of oil is a personal choice. More will make it crisper, as made in restaurants. Non-stick pans will need less oil. When it is crisp and brown…ish, remove from pan and serve immediately with coconut chutney and pickle of choice.

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