Malgudi Days

Semiya Upma/Vermicelli- Vegetable Upma

Semiya Upma/Vermicelli- Vegetable Upma

By Bhamini S.

A South Indian snack, best served with your Malgudi Days coffee.

200 grams vermicelli, see tips below
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 green chilli
1 string curry leaves
1-2 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tomatoes, medium ripe, chopped
1-2 bay leaves
1-2 small cinnamon sticks
1-2 cloves
1-2 pods green cardamom
3-4 garlic cloves (optional) sliced lengthwise
10 cashew nuts
1-2 cups water, see tips below

Seasonal vegetables can be used-- I mix and match what is available in the fridge

1 carrot, diced or grated
50gm fresh or frozen peas
½ capsicum, chopped
1 zucchini, medium size, diced
50gm baby spinach leaves
1 potato, small peeled, chopped or instead you can use broccoli chopped fine too.

Some of the items can be missed if unavailable or if you have allergies

4 tsp oil, for cooking
1 tsp ghee to fry cashews
1 tsp urad dal- 1 tsp
1 tsp channa dal- 1 tsp
1 tsp mustard seeds- 1 tsp
1 tsp cumin Seeds- 1 tsp
1 Asafoetida/Hing- just a pinch
2 dried red chilli, broken
½ tsp turmeric, optional

Finely chop onion, tomato, green chilli & vegetables.

Roast vermicelli – either you can dry roast it on a slow flame until it turns golden brown – If you are using readymade roasted vermicelli, you can skip this step, but I still roast a little, since their roast is not complete.



  1. Heat oil, add bay leaves, cinnamon bark, cloves and cardamom. When they sizzle, add mustard seeds. As mustard seeds begin to splutter, add hing, urad dhal, channa dhal, cumin seeds, broken dry red chillies and curry leaves, turmeric, etc
  2. When the above dhal turns golden brown, add chopped onions, split green chillies and sauté until onions turn transparent. Add chopped tomatoes and fry until they are soft and cooked.
  3. Add finely chopped vegetables or alternatively you can cook them in another pan until they are 80% cooked, drain the water and add to the main pan.
  4. Add the roasted vermicelli and stir-fry for a few minutes.
  5. Add boiled water, salt and lower the flame to medium.
  6. Cover and cook until the vermicelli is soft and all the water is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
  7. Garnish with coriander and fried cashews
  8. You can add one spoon of ghee on top.

This will have an aroma like pulao because of bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom

You can eat the above without any chutney or pickle. If required you can make yoghurt raita.


For vermicelli, try MTR/ BAMBINO/ANIL BRAND), both roasted and unroasted are available in the shops. Please note Vermicelli upma tastes good even when not all of the ingredients are available.

Suggested water ratio

Vermicelli  - thick (MTR Brand) - 1: 2 cups of water
Vermicelli - medium (Bambino) - 1: 1 ½ cups of water
Vermicelli - fine (Anil) - 1: 1 cup water


Semiya Upma/Vermicelli- Vegetable Upma

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