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
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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 in 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, and 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 the stovetop method 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 37 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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47 Comments

  1. For double the recipe, the proportions of the water don’t seem right. For 3 cups of vermicelli I would use 6 cups of water for Stove top? Used 4 cups and it was soppy mess. Not sure where it went wrong?

    1. Hi Becky – Sorry to hear that it did not work out. I am wondering if you have the same kind of vermicelli that I am using. There are many different varieties including rice and thin ones. I am using thick roasted wheat vermicelli here – https://amzn.to/3xzl3Q8

  2. I made this today and it came out perfect !! Thank you so much for recipe .. sharing with my friends ..

  3. Hi Meeta, I was most impressed with your professional qualifications, from Mumbai and Stanford !
    ( I am an alumni from Mumbai (Chem Engg) and Rochester NY…)
    I figured a fantastic scholar, like you, must also be a great gourmet ! …. Perhaps … 😉

    I actually wanted to make Rice Stick Usli, (our word for upma -) and I used your suggestions. liberally .
    Modifications” ……. I used (broken) rice sticks, Chao Ching, chinese rice noodles…. soaked for 20 minutes.
    For tadka, I used mustard seeds and Urad dal ( for nuttiness – ), kadi patta, cumin seeds, and a few slivers of jalapeno pepper. I also added a few pinches of Hing. (Asaoefotida).
    For the veggies, I addded a can of sweet corn, but no onions or garlic. I had used enough onions and garlic in far too many of my dishes, last night. ;->) I also put in a liberal amount of roasted cashew nuts, which according to me, at least, are also vegetables.
    I also added a dollop of frozen ground coconut shavings,and a few sprinkles of coconut powder …. sort of Mangalore / Udupi style. The final result was very good,( according to my persnickety wife ).
    I intend to buy an Instant Pot, …. the moment my wife agrees to give her permission. ;-o)
    Best of Luck on your Blog, and I will come often again. Thank you very much ! Girish K.

    1. Hi Girish – Thank you for your kind words. It is great to meet you here. Thanks for sharing how you used the recipe for rice noodles. It is exactly how I would try making them, perhaps will skip the instant pot as rice noodles will get overcooked in it. I would love to hear if you try any other recipes.

  4. I’ve made this so many times. Its foolproof and delicious! If I want to make it for a crowd, say around 5 times the given quantity, do I need to increase the time to cook? Thank you.

    1. Hi Bindi – So glad to hear you have been enjoying the Upma. The cooking time will remain the same even if you increase the quantity of Seviyan.

  5. Love the proportions and cooking time for this – comes out great each time! Our favorite version is with mixed veggies and a bit of pasta sauce (I put in about 4-5 tbsps on top without stirring before closing the lid to cook).

    1. Hi Isha – I would suggest to roast the vermicelli with some ghee or oil before using in this recipe. You can do that in the instant pot on saute mode or on the stovetop in a pan.

  6. I tried this and it came out delicious! All of the measurements were perfect! I have made it already 5-6 times from your recepie. Thank you!

    1. Hey Savita – So glad to hear you have tried and liked the kheer multiple times. Thank you for sharing back your review!

    1. Hello Balasaraswathy – I am starting to add more videos to recipes, and will add this one to the list too!