Samba Godumai Upma - The Ultimate Comfort Food of Coimbatore

The extraordinary city of Coimbatore is one the most industrialised cities of Tamil Nadu. This city lies on the banks of River Noyyal. The Western Ghats envelop Coimbatore on the North and West. The City of Coimbatore has always been famous for its textile industry and is nicknamed “The Manchester of South India. The city is renowned for wet grinders, auto components, educational institutions, and hospitals. The famous Siruvani waterfalls and dam provide the residents with the 2nd tastiest drinking water in the world. People of this city are known for their gentleness, respectful language ( Called Kongu Tamil) and entrepreneurial spirit. They are also widely known for their ultimate comfort food - Samba Godumai Upma. This dish is so famous that Godumai rava upma is included in the menu at weddings, housewarming and other functions. It is often added as the last item and served with curd and pickle, which gives people an impression of a complete meal at a function.

The Samba Godumai is popularly called Emmer Wheat in English. The whole wheat grain is ground into small pieces of rava consistency. It is then cooked to perfection. When the Rava cooks, it does not get gooey or runny. Every single Rava is cooked to perfection. It has an extremely good texture and taste. There is no pungent smell in this dish. It is a wholesome comfort food made more than once or twice a week at households in Coimbatore. It is a perfectly easy, one-pot meal suitable for all ages and cooking expertise. When cooked to perfect consistency, it makes a perfect low-calorie healthy meal. Though there are many brands of godumai rava available in various department stores, most of them prefer the brand - Mayil Mark Samba Rava. Coimbatoreans believe that the rava from this particular brand gives added flavour to their dish.

The people of Coimbatore consume this comfort food in many ways. The most divine combinations to consuming godumai upma are :

1. Samba Godumai upma along with ghee, sugar and banana.

2. Samba Godumai upma with curd and pickle.

3. Samba Godumai upma with any spicy chutney

Coimbatoreans are settled throughout the world. When you ask them what they miss the most in their life, they would comment that they miss their Godumai rava upma. It has always been a tradition that whenever parents travel abroad to visit their children, they always carry precious loads of Godumai rava for their children.

This Godumai rava upma can be made with the simple ingredients available at home. This is how the traditional Samba Godumai Rava upma is made :


3-4 tsp cooking oil - Coconut oil / Peanut oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp broken Urad dhal

1 tsp channa dhal

3 -4 green chillies, slit

1 - 2 red chillies broken into half

1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger

1 Sprint curry leaves

1 Big onion, chopped

Salt to taste

1 cup samba godumai rava

2 1/2 cups of water ( either hot water or room temperature)

1 Spring coriander leaves

1 tsp ghee


1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter, reduce the heat and add the Broken urad dhal along with channa dhal. Fry for a minute till they turn light brown.

2. Add the slit green chillies, red chillies, curry leaves, and ginger, and fry for half a minute.

3. Add the chopped onions and fry nicely.

4. When the onions are cooked, add water and rock salt to taste and let it boil.

5. At this stage, check for salt in the boiling water.

6. Add the samba godumai rava. Mix well.

7. Reduce the flame. Let it cook covered for 3 - 4 minutes or till the water evaporates.

8. Open the pan and mix the upma. The rava would be cooked and will not stick to each other.

9. Finally, add the chopped coriander leaves and ghee. Mix.

10. Let it sit in the pan for 2-3 minutes before serving hot.

Other variations of making the godumai upma

Vegetables- Many households add fresh vegetables such as carrots, beans, potatoes and peas in their upma (while adding onions), making it nutritious.

Tomatoes and lime - Many households like their upma to taste tangy and add 1/2 a chopped tomato ( when adding onions) or lime juice (at the end) to their upma.

Peanuts- For people who like the flavour of nuts, many households add peanuts to their upma.

Embracing the godumai upma gives us tons of health benefits as well. It is high in fibre and can aid a person in the weight loss journey. It can help in maintaining the blood glucose level and is a good source of iron and minerals. Thus, this dish not only satisfies one’s palate but also promotes well-being.

Vaishnavi Gurusankar is a passionate educator, a wife and a mother. She has over a decade of experience as an educator and has been closely working with teachers and children of all ages. She is also an active parenting blogger and founder of Magical Unicorn, an exclusive parenting blog founded on Indian ethos, values and stories at its core. She has also authored the book "Bharatyam : Science behind Hindu Practices & Way of Life"