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Vermicelli Pilaf (Semya Upma) for National Noodle Month

Did you know that March is National Noodle Month? I wanted to make something on this occasion (??), for the past 31 days and as usual the month flew by right in front of my eyes. Well since there are a few more hours left to complete the month I thought I?ll post this yummy semya upma (aka vermicelli pilaf in a fancy way).
I usually end up making a sticky lumpy mess when I make semya, usually because I second-guess myself when adding the water and end up adding way more than needed. But my mom?s method of boiling vermicelli (just like pasta) in lots of salted water for 2-3 minutes until cooked through has solved my sticky mess problem.

Semya Upma

Here?s how I made this dish.
Ingredients:
Semya (Short cut vermicelli) ? 2 cups (I used Bambino brand available in Indian groceries)
Onion ? 2 medium, finely chopped
Potato ? 1 medium, diced
Roasted Peanuts ? ¼ cup
Tomato paste ? 1tbsp
Tomato ? 1 medium, chopped
Kitchen king masala ? ½ tsp (or to taste)
Lemon juice ? 2tsp

For tempering:
Urad dal ? ½tsp
Chana dal ? ½tsp
Mustard seeds ? ½tsp
Cumin seeds ? ½tsp
Dry red chili ? 2

Vermicelli Pilaf

Method:
Boil 4-5 cups of water in a large saucepan, and once water comes to a rolling boil, add 1tsp and the vermicelli. Boil for 2-3 minutes or until cooked through (this should not take very long). Drain the water from the vermicelli and keep aside until ready to use. Heat 1tbsp oil in a sauté pan, add tempering ingredients and once the seeds start to splutter, add the onions and sauté until lightly browned around the edges. Add potatoes and roasted peanuts; cover and cook until the potatoes are cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Next add the tomatoes and tomato paste, cook until they turn mushy. Season the veggies with salt and kitchen king masala. Finally add the cooked semya* with the lemon juice and more salt (if needed), mix everything gently. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, so the flavors get a chance to mingle. Let rest for 5 minutes and garnish with coriander leaves before digging in.
Semya Upma
This is a great dish for BLD (Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner). We had ours for dinner with some homemade fruit juice.

* Note: Cooked Vermicelli might turn into a mush if left in the colander/ strainer for too long. Don?t worry, just rinse them under some cold water and squish them around with fingers to separate the noodles.
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