My mom stumbled on this recipe after we got completely sick of eating the plain old bland semiya (Vermicelli).
It’s got pretty much most of the spices used for a bririyani. So that’s how it smells and tastes like: a biriyani.
Kara Semiya Serves 2-3
You will be needing
– 2 cups of Double roasted semiya. Or dry roast normal vermicelli till it turns golden brown. Set aside and let cool.
– 5 cups of water (approx. ratio is 1 cup of vermicelli to 1 1/2 cups of water)
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 2 tomatoes, chopped
– 1 tsp cumin seeds
– 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
– 1/2 stick cinnamon
– 4-5 cloves
– 1 small bay leaf (optional)
– A pinch of grated nutmeg
– 1 tsp Ginger garlic paste (optional). Alternatively, grate a tiny pieced of ginger and a clove of garlic.
– 1/2 tsp red chilli powder or more. Depends on how much heat you can handle.
– 1 tsp of garam masala
– 1/2tsp cumin powder
– 1/2 cup of green peas, boiled to perfection. You can also vary this with boiled carrots and beans.
– A handful of mint leaves and coriander, chopped.
– Salt to taste
– Oil, as required
Note: Instead of using the whole spices, you can use powdered spices. I’ve noticed that it saves a lot of ‘picking’ time.
– Boil the water separately. Let it simmer once it reaches boiling point. Cover and let it be.
– Heat oil in a pan. Drop in the cumin, fennel, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Once it starts popping, saute the onions till they turn a translucent pink. Add the red chilli powder and stir well.
– Add the ginger and garlic. Stir till it turns fragrant.
– Add the tomatoes, salt, and cook covered under a low flame until the tomatoes are done.
– Mash the tomatoes with the back of the ladle, till you get a smooth paste of the onions and tomatoes. The oil should begin to separate and the tomato paste must be a vibrant red by now.
– Add the garam masala. Stir till the masala is combined and turns fragrant.
– Add the peas and the double roasted semiya (vermicelli).
– Add the chopped mint and coriander.
– Stir slightly, turn up the heat to high and pour half the boiling water. Stir once. Then pour the remaining water with discretion. The thing is, water content varies from one tomato to another. So we must adjust the water accordingly. Practice makes perfection. Make hard and fast decisions when it comes to how much more water the semiya will need to cook.
– Adjust the salt. Cover and cook on a low flame, till done.
Note: Do not keep constantly stirring once you pour the water, or you’ll end up with broken strands, which when cooked, turns to mush.
Tip: Adding the garam masala in the end, makes for an extra fragrant dish.