Vermicelli (Sewai) in Indian Cooking: Things to Know

Vermicelli is a kind of traditional pasta. It is similar to but thinner than spaghetti. It is broken down into several small pieces before cooking. It is easily available at grocery stores.

There are varieties of vermicelli. Some are thick and some are thin.  I prefer roasted vermicelli for both savory and sweet dishes.

However, non-roasted vermicelli is also available. Buy it and roast it with 1-2 tablespoons of ghee in the pan.

What is Vermicelli?

Vermicelli (Sewai) in Indian Cooking

Vermicelli is a type of thin pasta, similar to spaghetti, that is commonly used in Asian cuisine.

It is made from rice flour or wheat flour, and sometimes includes other ingredients such as tapioca or cuseornstarch.

Vermicelli noodles are often used in soups, salads, stir-fries, and spring rolls.

They can be found in a variety of thicknesses, from very thin angel hair vermicelli to thicker varieties.

Vermicelli is a versatile ingredient that is popular in many different cuisines, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian.

Uses of Vermicelli Indian Cuisines

Almost everyone loves to slurp, burp and gulp, etc. Vermicelli is a hard, fine, and pale beige color which is simply wonderful and effective in eating.

There are so many facts which are giving you the best taste ever. It is seen that vermicelli is made out of maida and wheat mixed with a little bit of salt and water to it.

Sometimes groundnut powder and soybeans are added to it which makes it rich in protein. There is broken vermicelli which is made up of semolina and it also tastes nice.

You can have the upma, kheer, and payasam out of it. There is crushed vermicelli which is used for deep frying coating on chops and other items.

Powdered vermicelli is also obtained which is made out of powdered vermicelli. It is used to thicken up the dessert and other milk items.

Upma is a traditional and popular breakfast. Originating in South Indian kitchens, it has now reached almost every Indian household.

Upma is traditionally made with semolina. Vermicelli upma, also called semiya upma, is a wonderful variation of the famous traditional dish.

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The only difference is the use of vermicelli. Wheat-made vermicelli is used for this upma.

It is an easy and healthy snack that takes only 20 minutes to cook. You need simple ingredients to prepare it.

Vermicelli upma is also called vermicelli biryani. The dish is known as namkeen seviyan in North India. You can add vegetables to give it a colorful look.

The delicious breakfast is ideal for your hunger pangs. It is a light meal that you can enjoy for breakfast or lunch. Serve it with a bowl of sambar for double delights.

Vermicelli nut idli is a wonderful variation of popular South Indian idli. It tastes slightly chili. The preparation method is the same.

In India, every happy occasion is celebrated with traditional sweets. Deserts make festivities and auspicious occasions happier and sweeter. Vermicelli is a popular ingredient used in making different types of Indian desserts.

Semiya ki kheer (In Bengali, we call it simuer payesh) is a quick dessert that you can prepare with a few simple ingredients. The delicious recipe is worth a try!

Sheer kurma is a popular dessert usually prepared on Eid. Every household has its way of making sheer kurma. It is a rich and delicious dessert.

Sev brand is another mouth-watering dessert prepared with vermicelli and plenty of dry fruits. It is easy to prepare and a perfect dish to serve your guests anytime.

You can use vermicelli in mango kheer too. Mango and vermicelli may sound like an unusual combination but the pair will do the tango on your taste buds.

What Can Be Made from Vermicelli?

Vermicelli is one of the easiest Indian foods which you can eat any time and make within a few mins. It is a healthy food where vegetables are added to make it a good breakfast or lunch.

You can simply make desserts like kheer and payasam out of it.

You can have some sautéed vegetables and other things come together to make unique recipes like Egg Idiyappam, Kara Sevai, Thayir Semiya, Vegetable Semiya Upma, Ragi Vermicelli/Semiya, Vermicelli Biryani, Karnataka Style Pudina Shavige, Chettinad Style Tomato Vermicelli, etc.

How to Cook Vermicelli?

Cooking vermicelli is a simple process and can be done in a few easy steps:

  • Boil water in a pot and add a pinch of salt to it.
  • Add the vermicelli to the boiling water and stir it occasionally.
  • Cook the vermicelli until it is soft and tender. The cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of the vermicelli.
  • Once the vermicelli is cooked, drain the water using a strainer.
  • Rinse the vermicelli under cold running water to prevent it from sticking together.
  • Add a little bit of oil to the vermicelli to prevent it from clumping together.
  • Your vermicelli is now ready to be used in any recipe you like.
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You can also use a microwave to cook vermicelli. In this method, add the vermicelli to a microwave-safe bowl and add water to it.

Microwave the mixture for about 5-6 minutes until the vermicelli is soft and tender. Drain the excess water and rinse the vermicelli under cold water.

What is Vermicelli Traditionally Served With?

Vermicelli is a type of pasta that is commonly used in many different cuisines around the world. The traditional dishes served with vermicelli can vary depending on the country and culture. Here are a few examples:

In Italian cuisine, vermicelli is often used in soups and salads, as well as in pasta dishes with tomato or meat-based sauces.

In Vietnamese cuisine, vermicelli is often served as a base for noodle bowls, which can include grilled meat, vegetables, and herbs, and are often served with a fish sauce-based dressing.

In Indian cuisine, vermicelli is often used in a dessert called seviyan kheer, which is a sweet pudding made with milk, vermicelli, and sugar, and flavored with cardamom, saffron, and nuts.

In Middle Eastern cuisine, vermicelli is often used in a dessert called kunafa, which consists of layers of vermicelli and cheese soaked in syrup and baked until golden and crispy.

Overall, vermicelli is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different ways in various cuisines and dishes.

Are Vermicelli Noodles Just Rice Noodles?

Yes, vermicelli noodles are a type of rice noodles.

They are thin, translucent noodles made from rice flour and water and are a common ingredient in many Asian dishes.

In some regions, the term “vermicelli” is used interchangeably with rice noodles, while in others,

it refers specifically to the thin, thread-like noodles.

How Do You Make Vermicelli Not Mushy?

To make vermicelli noodles not mushy, follow these steps:

  • Soak the vermicelli noodles in cold water for about 15-20 minutes. This will help to soften them and make them more pliable.
  • After soaking, rinse the noodles with cold water and drain them well. This will remove excess starch that could cause them to become mushy.
  • Boil a pot of water and add the vermicelli noodles. Cook them for about 2-3 minutes or until they are tender but still slightly firm.
  • Immediately drain the noodles and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Toss the noodles with a bit of oil to prevent them from sticking together.
  • Use the noodles in your dish as desired.
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By following these steps, you can achieve perfectly cooked vermicelli noodles that are not mushy.

Can You Use Vermicelli for Spaghetti?

While vermicelli and spaghetti may look similar, they have different textures and origins.

Vermicelli is typically made from rice flour and has a thinner and more delicate texture than spaghetti, which is made from wheat flour and has a firmer texture.

Therefore, substituting vermicelli for spaghetti may not work well in certain dishes, as the two types of noodles have different cooking times and absorb sauces differently.

It’s best to use the type of noodle specified in a recipe to ensure the best results.

How Do You Know When Vermicelli is Done?

To check if vermicelli is done, you can take a strand of the noodles out of the pot and taste it.

If it’s still hard or chewy, it needs to cook for longer. If it’s tender but still has some firmness, it’s done cooking.

It’s important not to overcook vermicelli, as it can quickly become mushy and lose its texture.

Questions & Answers:

Can You Add Vermicelli Directly to Soup?

Yes, of course, you can add the vermicelli directly to the soup and as it is made with salt and maida thus it is completely blended with the dish.

Is Vermicelli the Same as Pho?

No, both are different types of noodles, vermicelli and pho are different.

How Long Does It Take for Vermicelli to Soften?

Vermicelli takes 10 mins max to get softened.

What is Vermicelli Called in Different Languages?

Vermicelli is known as Semai in Bengali and Sewai in Hindi Languages.


Vermicelli is a type of thin pasta, similar to spaghetti, used in Asian cuisine.

It is made from rice flour or wheat flour, and sometimes includes other ingredients such as tapioca or cornstarch.

Vermicelli is a versatile ingredient that is popular in many different cuisines, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian.

It can be found in a variety of thicknesses, from very thin angel hair vermicelli to thicker varieties.

Vermicelli is used in a variety of Indian dishes, such as upma, kheer, and payasam, and can also be used in desserts.

Vermicelli can be easily cooked by boiling it in water and is a healthy and quick food option.

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