Vermicelli or Semiya (in Tamil) are thin noodles/pasta that is the most commonly used noodles in Indian in traditional dishes. It can be used in both sweet and savory preparations. The most common savory preparation is the Upma which is a south indian breakfast dish made out of grains and vegetables and flavored with green chillies, curry leaves and cashews .
I remember eating this dish made by great grandmother for tiffin ( tea time snack ) as a kid and still feel that it is the best that I have ever tasted. I have tried to recreate her recipe with the addition of more vegetables for a healthy and wholesome breakfast. —Kris
Vermicelli ( Preferably Bambino)
Habanero ( Seeds removed if you do not like spicy food)
Gather all ingredients. Put 1 cup of frozen vegetables in a microwave safe bowl. Pour 1/4 cup water over it and microwave on high for 5-6 minutes till the vegetables are almost cooked.
Chop onions into small pieces ( 1 cm by 1/2 cm ) and also chop the habanero. Remove the seeds if you feel the pepper is too potent or prefer less heat. You can also substitute green chillis, serrano peppers, jalapeno or fresno peppers.
Place a medium frying pan with stove on medium. Once it heats up , dry roast the vermicelli until it turns light brown. Make sure that it does not burn. Keep stirring continuously and reduce the heat if you have to. Remove from pan once its roasted.
Add 1 teaspoon ghee ( or oil) and roast the cashews. I prefer ghee to roast the cashews and use oil for the later step. You can do this in the same or different pan while the vermicelli is roasting. You can also skip this step but the cashews add a good crunch and flavour to the dish.
Remove the cashews from the pan and add 2 tablespoons of oil and the mustard seeds. Cover the pan. Once the seeds splutter, add the curry leaves and habanero. Let is roast for a minute. Keep Stirring. Then add the onions and stir till the oil coats all the ingredients.
Sprinkle some water and cover the pan. Cook the onions till it turns translucent. Then add the other vegetables. Add salt to taste and stir.
Then add 4 cups of water to this pan and turn up the heat a bit. Once the water starts boiling, let it cook the vegetables further for a minute and then add the vermicelli. Keep stirring while adding.
Keep stirring every now and then while the vermicelli soaks up the water. The upma is done when the water has all been absorbed.
If you like your upma to be dry, you can add or spray another tablespoon of oil at this point and let it cook for a few minutes more. Stir frequently. Serve with ketchup or plain yogurt.