Vermicelli Upma

Vermicelli (or Semiya as it is known in southern India), is a versatile ingredient used in different types of foods. Most popularly it is used in kheer or payasam (a sweet dessert pudding) and in upma. Sometimes, it is even used as a substitute for rice in a yogurt-rice mix. It looks and feels like a thin rice noodle, and is probably the closest thing that India has to the noodle.

Here, I’ve made a semiya upma. A very popular breakfast food in several parts of India, and a huge favorite of mine.

1 cup vermicelli, lightly toasted to a golden color
1.5 cups water
2-3 green chillies, slit lengthwise
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds, for seasoning
2-3 curry leaves, for seasoning
Salt, to taste

Add a tablespoon of oil to a saute pan. When the oil is warm, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard starts to splutter, add the curry leaves, green chillies and onions and fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the water and salt to the pan and let it come to a boil. Now add the vermicelli and keep stirring. The water will be absorbed and the vermicelli noodles will become soft. Remove from heat.


This is my entry for Presto Pasta Night. Check out some of the recipes – they’re delicious.


7 Comments Add yours

  1. ANJALI J. says:

    i love this upma, though i never tried it. Pls visit my blog and check out my new post.


  2. Arundathi says:

    thanks anjali – will do.


  3. Ruth Daniels says:

    What a fantastic dish! Thanks so much for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. It’s not often we get a sweet dish and I love it when I do.


  4. Arundathi says:

    you’re very welcome, Ruth – this isn’t a sweet dish, though I could give you a sweet version of the vermicelli pudding, which would qualify! I love your blog – waiting for your round up!


  5. LisaRene says:

    Interesting about toasting the vermicelli first. Very pleasant dish, quick and easy. I suspect vermicelli are the “noodles” in the dessert dish served in many Indian restaurants. My husband likes light, delicate noodles so I will have to try your recipe.


  6. Arundathi says:

    Hi Lisa – Yes, I’m sure it must be vermicelli only because vermicelli is used extensively in desserts here in India. I will post the dessert soon. Do try this – its quite a light, tasty meal. Let me know how it turned out.


  7. Ishani says:

    Nice one,Worth a try!


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