Semiya Upma recipe— South Indian breakfast dish made with vermicelli and veggies. This dish pairs greatly with some homemade coconut chutney or onion raita. We love to have vermicelli upma with some boiled eggs.
The struggles of perfecting the semiya upma recipe aka vermicelli upma are real. Like many of you, I too have made batches of sticky and clumpy semiya upma. I almost gave up trying until I learnt new tips from mom on our family WhatsApp group. The secret is in the method of cooking and semiya upma water ratio!
- vermicelli pasta
- mustard seeds
- chana dal
- urad dal
- veggies: curry leaves, ginger, green chillies, onion and coriander leaves
- mixed veggies: carrots, green peas or green beans, cauliflower florets etc.
- ground spices: turmeric and red chilli
- lime juice
See recipe card for quantities.
Semiya upma water ratio
I know most of you just want to know the ratio of water, right? 😁 Here you go... For every 1 cup of vermicelli (durum), you need 1½ cups of water. I am referring to the regular vermicelli pasta and not the thin roasted seviyan or semiya.
The cooking method for millet based vermicelli like ragi semiya etc. are totally different.
How to make it?
Use a wok or kadai, not necessarily non-stick. But for beginners, that would help.
First, on a low to medium heat, roast the vermicelli with ghee until they are lightly golden. Make sure to keep stirring so that they roast evenly.
Transfer the roasted vermicelli onto a plate and put back the kadai on the stove.
Now, add more ghee and splutter the mustard seeds, then add the chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves, cashews, ginger, and green chillies. Saute this until the lentils turn golden.
Yes, we will be using chana dal, it will get cooked by the end of the time. You may skip it. You can also add peanuts instead of cashews.
Next, add the onions and the mixed veggies with a sprinkle of salt and saute on high until they sweat.
Reduce the heat and mix in the turmeric and red chilli powder and saute for a minute or two.
Add the water and bring this to a full boil on medium flame so that the veggies get cooked. Taste and add more salt if required.
Stir in the roasted vermicelli, coriander leaves and lime juice. Let this boil and cook on medium flame until most of the water is absorbed. Stir only a few times to bring the bottom to the top.
Reduce the flame to the lowest, cover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Switch off and keep covered for another 5 to 8 minutes.
Open, fluff and serve with coconut chutney or boiled eggs, or yoghurt-onion raita. Between chutney and raita, I prefer the raita, and F prefers chutney or egg.
Hint: I find using rubber or silicon spatula makes it easier and neater to stir and turn the semi cooked vermicelli.
ghee: You may use any other cooking oil like coconut oil or sunflower oil, etc.
chana dal: also called Bengal gram or split chickpeas. If you don't have it, you can skip it.
cashews: this is the traditional choice but you can skip it or add peanuts.
Vermicelli in Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu is called Semiya! How interesting is that! We make both sweet and savoury dishes with semiya, like payasam and semiya biryani.
A simple South Indian breakfast item, Semiya upma is made with vermicelli cooked in tadka spices, nuts like cashews or peanuts. There are different types of vermicelli sold in the Indian markets. You will not only find the usual durum wheat vermicelli but some healthier options liks finger millet semiya, rice semiya, etc.
Now, that is very subjective and depends on the type of semiya and your personal calorie needs. My recipe is made using the generic vermicelli pasta made with durum wheat which is not deemed "healthy" but with added veggies, ghee and raita or eggs, it makes a complete meal. There are healthier semiya in the market that are made with gluten-free flours and millets.
Though I grew up having my mom's semiya upma with lots of cashew nuts, I love the Keema semiya that my mom's friend used to make for Eid-ul-Adha breakfast. I hope to recreate and share the recipe, InshaAllah.
But for now, this vegetarian semiya upma will do which surprisingly F prefers to have than my popular Rava upma. 😏
Semiya Upma | Vermicelli Upma
- 1 kadai
- 1 rubber spatula (silicone)
- 1 ½ cup vermicelli roasted
- 1 tablespoon ghee divided
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons chana dal
- 1 teaspoon urad dal
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 8 cashews
- ½ inch ginger diced finely
- 3 green chillies chopped finely
- 1 medium onion diced finely
- 1 cup mixed chopped veggies carrot, boiled or frozen peas, and/or beans
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- 2 ¼ cups water
- salt to taste
- Juice of half a lime
- Fresh coriander leaves chopped
- Heat a teaspoon of ghee in a large kadai and roast the vermicelli on a low to medium flame until lightly golden. Make sure to keep stirring so that they roast evenly. Transfer the roasted vermicelli onto a plate and put back the kadai on the stove.1 tablespoon ghee, 1 ½ cup vermicelli
- Add more ghee and splutter the mustard seeds, then add the chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves, cashews, ginger, and green chillies. Saute this until the lentils turn golden.1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 2 teaspoons chana dal, 1 teaspoon urad dal, 1 sprig of curry leaves, 8 cashews, ½ inch ginger, 3 green chillies
- Add the onions and the mixed veggies with a dash of salt and saute on high until the onions turn translucent and the veggies are sweated.1 medium onion, 1 cup mixed chopped veggies, salt to taste
- Reduce the heat and add turmeric and red chilli powder and saute for a minute or two.½ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- Add all the water and bring this to a full boil on medium flame so that the veggies get cooked. Taste and add salt if required.2 ¼ cups water
- Gently, add in the roasted vermicelli little a time while stirring constantly. Stir in the coriander leaves and lime juice. This is the only time you can fix the salt.Juice of half a lime, Fresh coriander leaves
- Bring to a boil and cook on medium flame until most of the water is absorbed. Stir a few times to bring the bottom to the top.
- Reduce the flame to the lowest, cover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Switch off and keep covered for 5 to 8 mins.
- Open, fluff and serve semiya upma with coconut chutney or boiled eggs, or yoghurt-onion raita