Vermicelli Upma (A lazy day meal :) )


I am sure you have days when you don’t want to do much of anything. Just a “take it easy”, “keep it simple” kind of  day.  I am sure you have an arsenal of quick recipes to survive such days…. you can add this one to that list too 🙂

If you have tried vermicelli before and have hated it, it is highly likely that you didn’t like the texture. Vermicelli is very unforgiving when it is overcooked. Al dente is a must, else it becomes gummy and not very appealing. Hope this quick recipe helps you to fall in love with vermicelli.

  • I am using roasted vermicelli – 1 cup. If you have only  the plain vermicelli, all you have to do is heat a tsp of oil in the skillet and toss the vermicelli in the oil for a minute in low heat, until it becomes golden brown.

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  • Veggies that you’ll need :
  1. onions – 1 small or half medium (sliced thin)
  2. carrots + green beans (french cut) + green peas – 1 cup
  3. minced ginger – 1 tsp
  4. chopped cilantro
  5. grated coconut – 2 tbsp
  6. lime juice – 1 tsp (optional)
  7. slit green chilles – 3 or 4  (replace with red pepper flakes)

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  • In a pot, heat a spoon of oil, and fry seasoning of your preference. I fried mustard seeds and urad dhal as I like the nutty flavors they bring. You can use cumin instead or garam masala (cloves, cinnamon and cardamon). Then saute the onions until translucent, and then the green chillies and ginger and the finally add the carrots, beans and peas. Add salt to sweat the veggies.

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  • When the vegetables soften, add 1.5 cups of water to the pot.  [ 1 cup of vermicelli : 1.5 cups of water] Usually the package says to add 2 cups of water, but 1.5 cups of water gives the right texture. Add salt to the water as needed and bring the water to boil.

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  • Add the roasted vermicelli to the boiling water and keep stirring. Reduce heat to medium.

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  • I timed it and it took exactly 3 minutes to cook 🙂 .

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  • Turn off the heat and add the chopped cilantro and grated coconut. You can add a tsp of lime juice for acid but its optional.

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And its done. The most time you will spend is in cutting vegetables, if you had pre-cut frozen vegetables , this becomes even quicker.

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Some variations :

1. You can add garam masala, ginger garlic paste and mint leaves to make it into vermicelli pulav

2. You can add shredded cabbage, soy sauce and green chilli sauce and make a chinese version of this.

3. You can add turmeric powder and lemon juice.

4. If you choose to add tomatoes, reduce the amount of water.

5. You can add toasted cashews or peanuts.

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Adukku pathiri ( with veggie filling)


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This is a Kerala recipe, Malabar to be precise. Pathiri is a pancake(steamed) made with roasted rice flour. “Adukku” means layers. The rice pancakes are layered with some filling (usually meat or sweet) in between them. I  made a veggie filling with my favorite vegetables and the typical kerala coconut seasoning. May seem like a lot of steps, but quite simple to make.

  • To make the filling :
  1. Red onions
  2. Green peppers
  3. Red peppers
  4. Mushrooms

(These are the veggies I am using (my favorite pizza toppings 😉 ). You can use any vegetables of your choice. Cut the vegetables thin.

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  • Heat a tsp f oil in a skillet and saute the onions and peppers.

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  • Add the mushrooms. Add salt and pepper.

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  • While the mushrooms are cooking , you can make the seasoning. You’ll need :
  1. grated coconut : 2 tbsp
  2. cumin : 1tsp
  3. green chillies : 3 or 4
  4. ginger
  5. a pinch of turmeric powder

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  • Grind the above ingredients without adding water. Grind them just enough that everything blends, no need to make a fine paste. This is the standard seasoning used in Kerala for the vegetable stir-fry (thoran). It is simple but fresh.

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  • Add the seasoning to the sauteed vegetables and cook for a minute.

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  • This concludes the making of the filling. This, in itself,  is a good vegetarian side.

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  • Now to make the pathiris (pancakes), you will need the roasted rice flour. This should be available in Indian grocery stores in some version. Pathiri powder, Idiappam powder, Appam powder, puttu powder…..any of these can be used. If you can’t find it, just regular rice flour will work too, though there will be a slight difference in the softness of the pancakes.

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  • To a cup of roasted rice flour, add salt, a tsp of oil and some chopped cilantro.

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  • Boil water in a sauce pan, and pour the boiling water to the flour.

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  • Pour enough water to wet all the flour and mix with a spoon (as it will be too hot to touch).

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  • After a couple of minutes, when your hands can bear the heat, knead it to a smooth dough. Rubbing oil in your palms makes it easier.

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  • Okay….now for the fun part 🙂 Traditionally this is done using banana leaves. If you are not lucky enough to get one in your place (like me), here is an easier alternative I learned from a friend. (Trust me, this is much easier than using aluminium foil or plastic sheet).  Wet a paper towel (bounty or brawny, something that won’t collapse when wet).

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  •  Place a small ball of dough on the wet paper towel and spread it with your fingers. Make two pathiris.

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  • Place the filling on one of the pancakes.

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  • Now place the other pancake over the filling. This can be easily done by flipping the other pancake along with the paper towel over the filling and then peel off the paper towel.

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  • Press down the edges to seal.

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  • To steam the pathiri, I used my steam basket. You can also do it in your idli/idiappam maker.  Place the filled pathiri along with its paper towel in the steam basket.

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  • You can also cover the top with another wet paper towel. Steam for 5-7 minutes.

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  • And thats it….. 🙂

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  • All there is left to do is , slice and serve 🙂

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  • This one is done with 4 layers. The procedure is same though, may be a few extra minutes of steaming to ensure the inner pancakes are cooked through.

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This post is a dedication to all my friends from Kerala who through the years have shared their language, food ,culture and above all , their love with me.  Wishing everyone a happy Onam and a prosperous year ahead  🙂