vermicelli upma

Vermicelli Upma | Semiyan Upma

We all love the humble upma with each of us having a variation of our own. Here’s an upma with a twist that uses vermicelli or semiyan as the base instead of the regular semolina or sooji. Soft vermicelli, cooked with a rainbow of vegetables, crunchy peanuts and the subtle yet extremely flavourful Indian spices that makes a light, filling, healthy and very tasty breakfast in one pot in under 30 minutes.

Upma is an all-time favourite Indian breakfast because it is packed with flavours and goodness of health. It can be made using Rava (sooji), oats or vermicelli. I absolutely love this Vermicelli Upma recipe that I’ll be sharing with you today. Vermicelli Upma basically comes from south India but is adapted in almost all homes across the country now.

The delicious aromas of ghee, crackling curry leaves and mustard seeds that fill your house while making this breakfast is to absolutely die for. This vermicelli upma is rich in protein and iron content and hence is a very healthy breakfast choice. I love adding lots of vegetables to it to increase the nutritional value and add an extra bite but you can totally skip it if you want to; it will taste just as heavenly with or without vegetables. This upma also keeps you full for a long time and is a great breakfast or light lunch option to assist weight loss. Since it’s not messy, it is also great for a packed lunch or last minute picnic.

Ingredients in This Vermicelli Upma

What sets this recipe of vermicelli upma apart is its simplicity, its customisation capacity and of course, its delicious flavours. Let’s take a look at the key ingredients in this recipe.

  • Vermicelli/Seviyan

The vermicelli, also known as Seviyan or semiyan is an Indian variant of the noodles/pasta or spaghetti that is thinner and broken into short pieces. It is typically made out of wheat or rice. For this recipe we’ll be using the wheat version as the rice one is rather on the slippery side and will make the dish very lumpy and mushy. For a plate of beautiful fluffy upma, we use roasted vermicelli which can either be store bought or roasted at home with a couple tablespoons of ghee till it turns golden brown.

  • Raw spices for tempering 

Some ghee is heated in a pan, which is then tempered with some curry leaves, black mustard seeds, chana dal and urad dal that not only enhances the dish and gives the major flavours, but also adds a nice bite. The aroma of this tempering as I mentioned before, is absolutely tempting!

  • Vegetables

While this recipe can be made just as delicious without vegetables, adding the same not just increases the nutritional value of the dish, but also adds a bite to it and is a great way to use the leftover vegetables in your fridge and reduce wastage. I have used fresh chopped carrots and peas for this recipe but you can go ahead and use frozen mixed vegetables along with any other vegetable of your choice such as potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, capsicum etc. This is a highly adaptable dish and it can be customised as per your choice.

  • Nuts

Using nuts in this soft savoury recipe helps add that extra crunch. While I have used peanuts for this recipe, you can also use cashew nuts instead of it or both.

  • Sugar & Lemon Juice

While sugar and lemon juice are not really the key ingredients and I haven’t used them in this recipe, adding these can elevate your dish and give it that authentic south Indian touch. While the lemon juice gives it a nice tang, the sugar balances the flavours and provides a slight sweetness that goes really well with this spicy dish.

vermicelli upma

Why this Vermicelli Upma?

  • Super quick and easy
  • Very minimal ingredients
  • A very healthy breakfast or light meal option
  • Absolutely delicious
  • Perfect for a packed lunch or picnic
  • Anyone can make it as it is fool proof
  • One pot recipe

vermicelli upma

Let’s take a look at the recipe.

Preparation time – 10 minutes

Cook time – 10 minutes


  • 1 cup vermicelli
  • ¼ cup raw peanuts
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • A handful of fresh curry leaves
  • 4 tbsp of oil/ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp roasted chana dal
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • ¼ cup fresh peas
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Salt to taste 


  1. Heat some oil in a pan.
  2. Add un-roasted vermicelli and lightly roast till it turns golden brown. This step can be skipped if you’re using pre-roasted vermicelli.
  3. Take off the vermicelli and keep aside.
  4. Heat some more oil in the same pan and add the raw peanuts.
  5. Stir continuously and roast for a few minutes. Peanuts tend to burn easily so be extra careful while doing this step.
  6. Set the roasted peanuts aside and heat some more oil in the same pan.
  7. When the oil is hot, add the dried red chilli, mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal, finely chopped ginger and broken green chilli to prepare the tempering.
  8. Stir and cook for a few seconds.
  9. Add in the chopped onions and sauté till they turn translucent.
  10.  Now, throw in the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.
  11. Then add in a handful of curry leaves and cook for another couple minutes.
  12. Add in the chopped vegetables of choice. I am adding fresh carrots and peas but feel free to use the frozen versions.
  13.  Sauté the vegetables for a few minutes then add the salt.
  14. Cover and cook on low flame till the vegetables are properly done.
  15. After the vegetables are done, give it a good stir and throw in your roasted vermicelli and mix till everything is combined.
  16.  Add the hot water and cook on high flame stirring occasionally till all the water is absorbed and the vermicelli strands are perfectly cooked and fluffy.
  17.  Add in the roasted peanut, mix and take off the heat.
  18.  Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and enjoy hot! 

vermicelli upma

I hope you try this super easy and quick Vermicelli Upma recipe and love it just as much as I do.

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