Recipes: Spicy Vermicelli Upma

This is another staple dish in Tamil households which I tweaked slightly this week to make it different.

Spicy Vermicelli Upma


  • 1 cup vermicelli, dry roasted
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp pav bhaji (or garam) masala
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Coriander leaves to garnish
  • 1 tbsp ghee (optional)


  • Heat oil in a pan and when it warms up, add the mustard seeds and let it pop.
  • When the mustard pops, add the curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric powder and stir for a couple of seconds.
  • Add the onions and saute till translucent. Then add the remaining vegetables and saute for 1 minute.
  • Season with salt, chilli powder and pav bhaji masala and let the vegetables cook completely.
  • When the vegetables are done, add the roasted vermicelli and stir well.
  • Add enough boiling water to the vermicelli and cook it well.
  • When the vermicelli is cooked completely, check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • Add the optional ghee to the dish and switch off the gas.
  • Drizzle the lemon juice over the dish and garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot.


  • Instead of pav bhaji masala, you can also use garam masala or any other masala lying around.
  • To make a Jain version of this dish, omit the onions and garlic and cook as above.