This Semiya Upma is a traditional South Indian breakfast. Made with vermicelli and vegetables, this upma is mildly spiced, and an easy one-pot recipe. Make it on the stovetop or in the instant pot in less then 25 minutes!

Semiya Upma made with vermicelli noodles in a bowl garnished with cilantro

Upma is a favorite Indian breakfast. It can be made with rava, oats, or vermicelli. We love this easy semiya upma that can be made in the instant pot or on the stovetop.

Call it Vermicelli Upma or Semiya pulao or biryani, the preparation is the same. You can add less or more vegetables to your choice.

In North India, this dish is called Namkeen Seviyan, which translates to Savory or Salted Vermicelli.

This Semiya upma is a great choice for a quick and healthy breakfast. It is nutritious with the addition of all the wonderful veggies, and it is great to add to kids lunch boxes too.

You can also make upma with other grains. Check out Rava Upma, Broken Wheat/Dalia Upma and Quinoa Upma recipe.

What is Semiya or Vermicelli?

Vermicelli is a traditional pasta similar to spaghetti, but thinner and broken down to small pieces. You can buy these at an indian grocery store. The brands Bambino or MTR are popular choices.

There are various types of vermicelli you will see at the store, look for one with wheat. The rice vermicelli (sever) will not work in this recipe.

I like to buy roasted vermicelli. That makes it even easier to make this upma.

But if you don’t have roasted vermicelli, it is easy to roast yourself. Just add 1-2 teaspoon of ghee or oil in a pan and roast the vermicelli until it turns golden brown.

Seviyan Vermicelli Semiya

How to make Seviyan Upma? 

Start with preparing the ingredients. I like to have the tadka or tempering ingredients ready before starting to cook. Chop the onions and grate the carrots and ginger.

I am using frozen green peas in this recipe. If you are using fresh green peas, then parboil them before using in this recipe.

  • Start with the tempering – Heat ghee or oil to the pan. Then add the chana dal, urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds. Then add the cashews.
  • Add the curry leaves and green chili pepper. Then the chopped onions and grated ginger.
  • Saute the onions for a couple of minutes, then add the grated carrots and green peas.
  • I used carrots and peas in this recipe, but you can vary with the veggies of your choice. Some options are – bell peppers, corn, edamame, green beans. You can also add lightly sauteed tofu or paneer to increase the protein in this recipe.
  • Then add the vermicelli, salt and water. Cook covered for about 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed, while stirring frequently.

The vermicelli to water ratio for stovetop is 1 cup vermicelli to 1.5 cups water.

Step by step collage to make semi upma with vermicelli  and vegetables

Once the water is absorbed, let the upma rest for few minutes. Then open the lid and add the lime juice and gently stir. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.

Semiya upma made with vermicelli and veggies

How to make Vermicelli Upma in Instant Pot?

Follow the same steps to saute the veggies. Then add vermicelli, salt and water. The vermicelli to water ratio for instant pot is 1.5 cup vermicelli to 2 cups water.

The reason for using less water in the instant pot is that the water does not evaporate which means less water is needed to cook the same dish.

Pressure cook on high pressure for 1 minute. When the instant pot beeps, do 5 minute natural pressure release, which means release pressure 5 minutes after the instant pot beeps.

Remove the steel insert from the instant pot so that the vermicelli does not overcook and fluff the vermicelli with a fork.

Add lime juice and garnish with cilantro.

Vermicelli Semiya Upma made in the instant pot

Serve this vermicelli upma with chutney or tea or just by itself.  I always look forward to a weekend breakfast of vermicelli upma with some ginger tea.

Semiya Upma made with vermicelli noodles in a bowl garnished with cilantro

Tips for perfect Semiya Upma

  • Use roasted vermicelli in this recipe. Raw vermicelli will become mushy and won’t taste good.
  • You can use vegetables of your choice.
  • Add roasted peanuts (groundnuts) at the end to add a crunch to this upma.
  • This recipe can be doubled in the instant pot with the same cooking time. On the stovetop, it will take a little longer for the vermicelli to soak the water.

Hope you enjoy this easy and delicious Vermicelli Upma.

Here are more indian breakfast recipes you will enjoy:

4.95 from 36 votes

Semiya Upma (Vermicelli Upma)

This Semiya Upma is a traditional South Indian breakfast. Made with vermicelli and vegetables, this upma is mildly spiced, and an easy one-pot recipe. Make it on the stovetop or in the instant pot in less then 25 minutes!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Heat large heavy bottom pan on medium-high heat (or the instant pot on saute mode). Add ghee/oil and let it heat.
  • Add chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let them crackle. Then add the cashews.
  • Add the curry leaves and green chili pepper.
  • Add onions, ginger and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
    Onions and other tempering ingredients in the instant pot
  • Add grated carrots and green peas and sauté for another couple of minutes.
    grated carrots, peas and onions in the instant pot
  • Add the roasted vermicelli, salt and water.
    Vermicelli being cooked in a pot

Stovetop method

  • Cover the pan and let the vermicelli cook and absorb all the water on medium-low flame.
  • Stir couple of times in between. Turn off flame and let it rest.
  • Add the lime juice to the upma. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Vermicelli upma is ready to be served.
    Semiya upma made with vermicelli and veggies

Instant Pot Method

  • Change the instant pot setting to pressure cook (manual) mode on high pressure for 1 minute.
  • When the instant pot beeps, do 5 minute natural pressure release, which means release pressure 5 minutes after the instant pot beeps. Remove the steel insert from the instant pot and fluff the vermicelli with a fork. 
    Vermicelli Semiya Upma made in the instant pot
  • Add the lime juice to the upma. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Vermicelli upma is ready to be served.
    Semiya Upma made with vermicelli in a bowl

Notes

Tips:
  • Use roasted vermicelli in this recipe. Raw vermicelli will become mushy and won’t taste good.
  • You can use vegetables of your choice. Some options are – bell peppers, corn, edamame, green beans. You can also add lightly sauteed tofu or paneer to increase the protein in this recipe. 
  • Add roasted peanuts (groundnuts) at the end to add a crunch to this upma.
  • This recipe can be doubled in the instant pot with the same cooking time. On the stovetop, it will take a little longer for the vermicelli to soak the water.
Note: This recipe has been updated to add more details and new photos. 

Nutrition

Calories: 455kcalCarbohydrates: 83gProtein: 6gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 800mgPotassium: 174mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2893IUVitamin C: 88mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 1mg

Additional Info

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: South Indian
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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45 Comments

  1. Tried this today. Just perfect! Came out fluffy, soft yet separate. Not mushy at all! Thanks for the detailed recipe. Doubled the recipe. Kept cooking time the same. Added green peppers, diced carrots and peas. Too good!

    1. Hey Priyanka – Sorry to hear the recipe did not work perfectly. Manual mode is same as pressure cook mode in newer models of instant pot. I would suggest to heat the instant pot well, wait till it displays “HOT”, then add the ingredients. This can help with the food getting stuck to the bottom. Please feel free to let me know for any questions as you work with your new instant pot.

  2. I love it when the amount of water, time for cooking and pressure release, etc. work out perfectly. This was a nice ‘fluffy’ upma. Thank You for sharing a perfectly worked out recipe, Meeta.

    1. Hey Jincy – So happy to hear. Thank you for sharing your review and the delicious picture in the Facebook group 🙂

  3. Hi
    This might sound like a stupid question but how did you measure the vermicelli? I tried the recipient but it came out very mushy and soupy. Not sure what I did wrong. I did roast it but it was hard to roast. Next time will buy roasted ones. Could that be it ? It still tasted awesome

    1. Hey Prachi – Sorry to hear that it turned out soupy. I use the standard US cup measure of 1 cup = 240 ml for all recipes. I would suggest to try with the roasted vermicelli. I just added a picture of the vermicelli I used and have linked to it, so you can make sure it is the same one. Thank you for sharing your review!

    1. Hey Priya – I add 2 cups water for 1.5 cups of vermicelli. I confirmed that it is mentioned in the recipe ingredients.

  4. Hi , I tried this recipe today and it tasted good but it came out little sticky and not as dry and separate, any idea why and any suggestions how to make it separate and dry and not sticky?
    Thanks

    1. Hey Asha, Thanks for sharing the feedback. Here is one thing I do, and I just added it to the recipe too – Take the steel insert out of the instant pot right after the quick release and fluff the vermicelli with a ladle or fork. I hope that helps!

      1. Thanks i did that too.
        But not sure why it was still little sticky.
        Just saw that you added this to
        The notes too.
        Let me try the same again and see. Please let me know if you come up with any other suggestions, thanks

  5. Hi , i tried this recipe for breakfast and it turned out excellent. Question is if i double or tripe the recipe how does it change the cook time and pressure release time.
    Thnks

    1. Thanks for sharing. Glad that you liked it. With double or triple amount, the cooking and pressure release time would remain the same, as the instant pot would just take longer to come to pressure.

      1. If I do the upma in the night in instapot and want to open it in the morning for braekfast, What setting i have to use? I am new to instapot. Thanks in advance.

      2. Hey Neerja – I have not tried doing this, but my suggestion would be to do 0 mins manual and then leave it for NPR so you open it in the morning. Just as a tip – Usually if recipes require quick release, they are not the right candidates for putting in the night to be ready in the morning. Eg. Pasta.

    1. Hi John – You can either buy roasted vermicelli or you can roast it yourself. To roast vermicelli, add it to a saucepan with 1-2 tsp of oil or ghee and saute it until it turns golden brown. Keep stirring while it cooks. Let me know how it turns out. Thanks!