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Vermicelli upma on a white plate with lemon wedge and spoon and chai on side.

Semiya Upma (Vermicelli Upma)

Shweta Arora
Semiya Upma (Vermicelli Upma) is a healthy, vegan and savory South Indian breakfast recipe made with Vermicelli, vegetables, and spices. It is easy to make on stove top and Instant Pot and ready in 30 mins. Perfect for breakfast, snack, easy dinner, or lunchbox!!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 418 kcal


  • 1-2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds rai
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds zeera
  • 10-15 curry leaves kadi patta
  • 1 medium red onion finely chopped, 1 cup chopped approximately 
  • 1 teaspoon ginger grated or minced
  • 1-2 green chilies slit vertically or finely chopped
  • ½ bell pepper finely chopped, using a mix of red and green, ½ cup chopped approximately
  • 1 cup mix veggies frozen green peas, carrots, corn, and green beans
  • 1 medium tomato finely chopped, ½ cup chopped approximately
  • 1 ½ cup roasted vermicelli semiya
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder adjust to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice adjust to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoon cilantro leaves (coriander leaves) finely chopped


Stove top Method:

  • Boil 2-3 cups of water in a pan & add the vermicelli to it along with some salt.
  • Cook till they are done (as they cook they will expand in size).
  • Drain & soak in cold water to prevent them from cooking further.
  • Drain again, sprinkle some oil and mix to prevent them from sticking. Keep aside. This can be done ahead of time and kept refrigerated for 2-3 days.
  • In a pan or wok, heat oil on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds to the hot oil and allow them to splutter.
  • Then add the cumin seeds & curry leaves. Be careful as the spluttering will increase. Saute for few seconds.
  • Add the onions, and saute till onions turn light brown or translucent. Stir in the ginger and green chili and mix well.
  • Now add veggies - bell pepper, mix veggies (green peas, carrots, beans corns). Mix well, cover and cook until almost done.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and spices - turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt, and garam masala and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in the cooked & drained vermicelli. Cover & cook for a 1-2 mins.
  • Squeeze in the lemon juice & garnish with some coriander leaves. Give it one final mix and Semiya Upma is ready to be served.
  • Serve Semiya upma hot garnished with more cilantro and/or sev with your chai for breakfast or snack. Enjoy!

Instant Pot Method:

  • Switch on the instant pot to saute mode and when it reads "hot" add oil to it. Let the oil heat up. Add mustard seeds to the hot oil.
  • When the mustard seeds splutter stir in the cumin seeds, and curry leaves and saute for few seconds.
  • Add the onions, and saute till onions turn light brown or translucent. Stir in the ginger and green chili and mix well.
  • Now add the rest of the ingredients, veggies - bell pepper, mix veggies, tomatoes and spices - turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala, and salt.  saute for 1-2 mins.
  • Add in the roasted vermicelli (see notes for unroasted vermicelli)and 2 cups of water. Mix well and deglaze if needed.
  • Cancel saute mode. Close the Instant Pot lid with Vent to sealing position. Cook on Pressure Cook (manual) mode cook at High pressure for 2 mins.
  • When cooking is done (instant pot beeps), do a quick (manual) release after 5 mins by releasing the steam. Cancel the warm function.
  • Squeeze in the lemon juice & some coriander (cilantro) leaves (reserve some for garnishing).
  • Fluff up the vermicelli upma using a fork. Cover and allow to rest for another 5-10 mins. You can take the inner pot out if needed.
  • Open and mix well again, Vermicelli Upma is ready to be served!
  • Serve Semiya upma hot garnished with more cilantro and/or sev with your chai for breakfast or snack. Enjoy!


Vermicelli  - Use wheat semolina Vermicelli for this upma recipe as it gives the best results. I prefer Bambino or MTR brand vermicelli.
Use roasted vermicelli - There are 2 kinds of Semiya or vermicelli available - roasted and unroasted. Use roasted vermicelli as it makes the upma nice and fluffy and doesn't cause the noodles to stick.
If using unroasted vermicelli, first roast the vermicelli in 1 teaspoon of ghee or oil for that nutty aroma and flavor and then use in the recipe.  
Water ratio - The water to vermicelli ratio is very important and can make or break the recipe. For the Bambino variety of roasted vermicelli, usually, 1.5 cups of water for every 1 cup of Vermicelli works best with an Instant pot. Thin variety vermicelli will need less water. (1:1) and cook faster.  
Boil Vermicelli( for stovetop)- If you are making vermicelli upma in a pan on the stovetop, I recommend boiling the vermicelli first like pasta, drain completely, and then add it to the tempering and veggies mixture. That ensures fluffy Semiya upma that is not sticky. 
Fluffy Upma: The trick to fluffy upma is to not overmix it and fluff it using a fork. Allow it to rest for 5 mins covered, this allows it to settle and absorb any excess liquid and turn fluffy and separate vs sticky and mushy.
Customize: You can add veggies and spices to your choice. You can also add roasted cashews and peanuts for crunch. 
Double the recipe: This recipe can be easily doubled. Cooking time remains the same for Instant pot and will increase slightly for the stovetop.
Meal prep: This recipe is meal prep friendly. You can chop all the veggies ahead of time. Boil the Vermicelli (not required if making in an Instant pot), drain the water, coat with oil, and store refrigerated for 1-2 days.
Storage: Seviyan upma can be made ahead of time. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days. Allow cooling completely before storing. 
Before serving, just warm up in the microwave or on the stovetop in a pan and they are good as fresh!! 


Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 814mg | Potassium: 302mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3296IU | Vitamin C: 83mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2mg
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