Lemon Semiya| Lemon Vermicelli Upma

Vermicelli upma, for our family, has always meant upma with onions and green chillies, sometimes with green peas added in too. That is how vermicelli aka semiya upma has always been made in our families. In spite of the flexibility of the vermicelli – in spite of its ability to go with a whole lot of seasonings and ingredients – somehow, we never got around to experimenting with it until very recently. 

Some time in the last month, I tried out making vermicelli upma in a different way – with lemon. It turned out brilliant, so lovely that I have made it many times over since. For the sake of records, this lemon semiya upma was breakfast this Valentine’s Day, because it is one home-made breakfast that the husband loves a whole lot. 

This upma tastes delicious, and is super easy to make. It makes for a refreshing change from other routine breakfasts like rava upma, idlis and dosas

Now, without further ado, let me get around to telling you how exactly I make the lemon semiya upma

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. 1-1/2 cups roasted vermicelli (I use Bambino) 
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/4 cup groundnuts
  4. 2 green chillies, slit length-wise
  5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. A pinch of asafoetida 
  7. 1-1/2 tablespoons oil
  8. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  9. A few curry leaves
  10. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped 
  11. A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  12. Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste


1. Take about 3 cups of water in a pan, and add a little salt to it. On high heat, let the water come to a boil. 

2. Add the roasted vermicelli to the boiling water, and turn the flame down to medium. Mix well once. 

3. Let the vermicelli cook till it is almost done, but not too mushy. You need to keep stirring the vermicelli every now and then, and keep checking its done-ness. Switch off the gas when the vermicelli is almost done and pour the contents of the pan into a colander. 

4. Immediately run cold water over the vermicelli in the colander, to stop the cooking process. Set the colander in the sink and let all the water drain out. Allow the vermicelli to cool down fully before you begin making the upma

5. Meanwhile, dry roast the groundnuts in a pan on medium flame, till they turn crisp. Ensure that they do not burn. Remove the roasted groundnuts onto a plate. Keep aside. 

6. Heat the oil in the same pan and add the mustard. Allow to splutter. Add the asafoetida and let it stay in for a couple of seconds. 

7. Turn down the flame to medium, and add the chopped ginger and roasted peanuts. Let them stay in for a few seconds. 

8. Now, add the cooked vermicelli, turmeric powder, salt to taste, curry leaves, and slit green chillies. Mix well. 

9. On low-medium flame, let the upma cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir intermittently, ensuring that the upma doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. 

10. Switch off the gas. Stir in the finely chopped coriander and lemon juice. Mix well. 

11. Serve hot. 


1. If you want to up the spice level, add more green chillies to the upma or some red chilli powder along with the green chillies. 

2. Ensure that you stop cooking the vermicelli in the boiling water when it is almost done. Do not let the vermicelli cook overly, otherwise the upma will turn out to be mushy and tasteless. This is the most important step in the entire process, and if you get this right, chances are that your upma will turn out perfect. 

You like? I hope you will try this out too, and that you will love it! 


7 thoughts on “Lemon Semiya| Lemon Vermicelli Upma

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