Semiya upma is one of the favourite South Indian breakfast recipes. Semiya, known as vermicelli in English looks like long dry pasta/noodle strands. When cooked in water they swell and soften like any pasta or noodle would. Some semiya is sold pre-roasted too cutting down the step of roasting the semiya before cooking. Semiya is also used for making payasam or kheer (a dessert preparation) for festivals and special occassions.
For making this recipe you would need:
Semiya/vermicelli : 1 cup
Water : 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups
Groudnuts/peanuts : few
Oil/Ghee : for roasting vermicelli and for the tempering
Bengal gram dal/senaga pappu/chana dal : 1/2tsp
Urad dal/minappa pappu :1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds : 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds/jeera : 1/2 tsp
Hing/asafoetida powder : a pinch
Dry red chillies : 2 to 3 broken
Green chillies : 2 to 3 chopped
Curry leaves: few
Turmeric : a pinch
Onion : small finely chopped or sliced
Vegetables of your choice: finely chopped,optional (You can use green peas, carrots or green beans)
Tomato : medium sized chopped
Coriander leaves: finely chopped
Salt: to taste
Saute the semiya in a frying pan with some oil/ghee on low heat till they turn slightly brown and nutty. Make sure not to burn. This step can be skipped if you are pre roasting the semiya upma.
Remove the semiya from the pan and set aside to cool down.
Warm some more ghee or oil in the same pan. When warm enough, addd the groundnuts and allow them to fry till they change colour and emit the fried aroma.
Now add the channa dal and udad dal. Fry until the dals change colour slightly.
Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and continue frying.
Add turmeric powder and hing. Add dry red chillies, green chillies and curry leaves.
Once everything is sauteed well, add the chopped onions and fry till translucent.
Add the finely chopped vegetables and allow them to fry well.
Add the chopped tomatoes and allow everything to fry well.Add chopped coriander and mix.
Once everything is sauteed well, add water and allow the water to come to a rolling boil.
Add salt and mix well. If you taste the water at this stage it should be slightly salty as by the time the upma is ready the vegetables and the vermicelli will be absorbing the salt. So seasoning properly at this stage is very important.
Once the water comes to a boil, add the roasted semiya and continue to cook. Once the semiya starts to absorb the water, turn down the heat to low. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for a couple of minutes so that all the flavours mingle well with each other. Too much stirring will turn the semiya into a paste. So be cautious while stirring after you have added the semiya.
Semiya upma can be served hot just as it is or with a chutney/pickle of your choice.