Semiya (Vermicelli) Upma

One of the first recipes from my beginner cooking days I was confident to cook was the utterly delicious semiya upma. Like Maggi noodles for this generation, comfort and quick college food was semiya upma for us in those days. Fry the onion, boil water and add the roasted semiya. A one dish meal with minimum utensils and effort, and a tasty end result, it’s very easy to latch on semiya upma for comfort.

Semiya is Indian vermicelli. Made with durum wheat and free of egg, it’s available very thin, broken and in packets in Indian grocery stores.

I have been craving semiya upma for some time and made it on Ekadashi. Semiya upma, aavakaaya and avocado – it was a blessed meal.

Roasted Semiya
Roasted Semiya

Semiya Upma
(for 2 to 4, for 2 to 1 meal)

    2 cups, semiya (Indian vermicelli)
    1 medium sized red onion or shallot, finely chopped
    2 fresh chillies, finely chopped
    1/4 cup fresh peas, shelled
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
    1/4 cup roasted, cashew pieces
    1/4 teaspoon, salt or to taste
    1 tablespoon, peanut oil
    from masala dabba, for curry leaf tadka: 10 curry leaves, and
    1/4 teaspoon each- urad dal, chana dal, mustard seeds and cumin

1. Heat a wide pan over medium heat. Add semiya. With a slotted spoon, turn the semiya over and over again and roast until the semiya is uniformly pale red. Transfer the roasted semiya to a plate. The roasting process prevents the semiya becoming a gooey mudda in the end and increases the ruchi very much.

2. In the same pan, heat peanut oil. When oil is hot, add curry leaves, urad dal, chana dal, mustard seeds and cumin. Saute the tadka ingredients to fragrance, constantly stirring. Add onion and chilli pieces. Saute to soft. Add peas and 3 cups of water. Sprinkle salt. Mix well and cover the pan with a lid. Increase the heat to high.

3. When the water comes to a rolling boil, remove the lid and constantly stirring, add the roasted semiya to water. Reduce the heat to medium. Partially cover the pan and cook the semiya till the water is all absorbed. Turn off the heat.

4.Garnish with cilantro and cashew pieces. Gently mix and leave the semiya upma for ten minutes for flavors to mingle well. Then serve the semiya upma hot with pickle, chutney or podi. Kids love it with some sugar sprinkled on the top. Tasty semiya upma can be had for breakfast, evening snack, or for meal.

Semiya Upma
Semiya Upma with Mango Aavakaaya and Avocado ~ for Meal on Ekadashi

Kitchen Notes:
for 1 cup of semiya – add one and half cups of water


22 Responses to “Semiya (Vermicelli) Upma”

  1. I just today bought some fresh peas from the farmer’s market. I am going to make this! Thanks!

  2. sanjeeta kk says:

    A comfort food for me. Love it any time of the day. The vermicelli might get sticky for the beginners at times. I add a tsp of oil while boiling it, to avoid sticky vermicellies.
    Nice clicks, looks delicious. Best wishes.

  3. notyet100 says:

    ummm drooling here

  4. subhadra says:

    Nice recipe.A simple and delicious comfort meal. I cook vermicelli in boiling water and then run cold water over it to make it absolutely non sticky ( just like nooldes)

  5. Kalyani says:

    wow nice recipe indira ……….

  6. Aruna says:

    Indira, You remind me of good old days. For me, the vermicelli gets sticky at times and I can use those tidbits posted be fellow bloggers. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Can i take that bowl Indraji!!! So Mouth-watering!!!!Love that Aavakkai,mmm!!!yummy πŸ™‚

  8. GB says:

    This looks so good. I like to make dishes like these for weekend brunch. Satisfying one bowl meals. I never thought of avocado on the side…looks yum!
    (what is aavakaaya? is it the pickle?–sorry I’m from the north! love south indian food but don’t know some of the local names!)

  9. kalva says:

    my fav….love samiya upma!!

  10. vandya says:

    I love this upma and can have any time.

  11. Gayathri says:

    Nice recipe. Very good picture

  12. Ranjan says:

    Indira, what a wonderful receipe, must try it, love the idea of one pot meals especially on work days. Thank you for sharing it.

  13. Andhraman says:

    Also known as “Poagula Upma”! Very delicious.

  14. Narayan says:

    Wow – Indira – you are a magician who can elevate a simple comfort food like semiya upma to a heavenly treat! BTW – during ekadashi fasts, can you partake pickles? Usually, you are not allowed food that is prepared in the past?

    Ekadashi is a great tradition that celebrates the sacrifice. Ekadashi for my mom is just water and no solid foods at all. She says that sankalpam (thought) is what matters the most, when I list my ekadashi food to her. What we can and can’t have may be different, and ultimately insignificant as long as the sankalpam is there. God bless us all.

  15. sudha says:

    I had followed your receipe and made it…it came out excellent..everyone loved it….thanks..keep posting receipes…

  16. Gini says:

    I remember drooling when I saw these pics back home in magazines but have never tried it. Looks delicious Indira.

  17. Anusha says:

    You can roast the vermicelli in a toaster oven. It makes it very easy – 350 degrees F for 15 mins for 1 cup vermicelli. Stir once in the middle. Then its ready. The vermicelli should be placed on a flat ovenware.

  18. Siri says:

    Hi Indira, I made this just now for breakfast. I always always made gooey upma. followed the recipe to the T and it is just perfect. thank you. πŸ™‚


  19. Lakshmi says:

    You recipies are too good !!! Thanks a lot for such a lovely website.

  20. Uma says:

    Hi, Thanks for the lovely recipe. I tried your recipe 2 times. The first time it was with exactly same amount of ingredients and it came out awesome. Next time I doubled the quantity of semiya and even the other ingredients, but it came out sticky. Any suggestions anyone???

  21. J says:

    This is the best upma I have ever made, thank you. Loving it

  22. kranthi says:

    I am in preparing it right now, will post my comments once I taste it.

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