Seviya Upma

The first time I had seviya upma was at this stand in Bangalore where the area around where you order was packed. We had already had our seviya upma, but I wanted more coffee. My husband decided that  I needed to learn how to be more aggressive and had me fight my way through the mini-mob to first buy a coupon for more coffee, and then push through to actually get my coffee. There isn’t really such a thing as a line in India :-). The thing about me and India is that I have always been with family. I really don’t know how to manage there on my own. Except for one time when I decided that I wanted to go for coffee by myself, and was dropped off and picked up again afterwards (so adventurous!), I have never been alone. So look at me pushing through to get my coffee! It was a funny experience. The coffee was small, strong and sweet, and so good. And the sevia upma? Yum.

It isn’t like I haven’t traveled alone before. I’ve backpacked in Europe solo a couple of times and spent part of a Thailand trip by myself in Chiang Mai and generally do just fine. Okay, India is a little different to travel alone in. But more than that, I think it all depends on who I am with or not with. My mom always wonders how I manage on trips by myself since I seem so oblivious when I am with her. Well, it is because I am with her. The minute I am following someone, I no longer lead! So that is what I’m used to in India: following.

Anyways, back to seviya upma. Seviya upma, also called semiya upma, is an Indian breakfast dish of vermicelli cooked with spices and veggies. My mother in law taught me how to make it on her most recent trip to Los Angeles. It is really good, but not super filling, kinda like cereal. I need to eat in within 2 hours after eating it!

1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons urad dal (dry)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 very small onion finely chopped
1 carrot copped into little pieces or 1/4-1/2 greed bell pepper chopped into little pieces or both (we didn’t have bell pepper this morning so I skipped it)
2 cups dry seviya (short vermicelli found in Indian markets)
Big squeeze of lime
Cilantro chopped

  1. Heat oil in a saute pan and add urad dal.
  2. Once the urad dal starts to golden add the mustard seeds.
  3. Once the mustard seeds start to pop, add the curry leaves.
  4. Then add the onions and capsicum.
  5. Meanwhile boil the carrot to get it soft (I used a little bowl with water in the microwave for a couple of minutes).
  6. Drain and add the carrots the onions and capsicum.
  7. Heat water in another pan until boiling and add the vermicelli. Cook for a few minutes watching closely since it cooks fast. Once it is done, drain well and add to the veggies and spices.
  8. Add salt, lime and cilantro and mix.