The closest Indian parallel, in my view, to a pasta is Sevaiya Upma.
Tangy, fragrant with a dot of ghee, I lightly fry up the rice or semolina sevaiya or vermicelli with imli and coconut and it makes for a light breakfast or a snack.
You can also choose to add a range of finely chopped vegetables.
Tangy Sevaiya Upma
- 400 gm pack roasted semolina sevaiya or vermicelli or rice sevaiya (I prefer Bambino but MTR rice sevai works well too)
- Water to boil the sevaiya
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1½ tbsp oil
- 1½ tsp white urad dal or white gram
- 2 tsp rai or mustard seeds
- ½ tsp or more hing or asafoetida powder
- 10 fresh curry pattas or leaves
- 3-4 tbsp imli or tamarind paste
- 2 green chillies chopped lengthwise
- Dash sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 4-5 tbsp fresh grated coconut
- Boil 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan over high heat.
When the water comes to a boil add a 400 gm pack of the roasted sevaiya.
Cook for hardly 3-4 minutes or less and drain through a colander.
The seviaya should be al dente (mildly firm to bite and not soft and overcooked).
To prevent the cooked sevaiya from sticking, moisten and toss with the ghee and keep aside.
- In a kadhai heat up the oil over medium heat.
First add the white urad dal, either split or whole, when the oil is still cold and let it start to turn pink.
Then add the rai and allow it to crackle and pop.
Add ½ half a tsp or slightly more hing powder.
And finally the curry pattas.
Turn the heat down and then add the sevaiya, sugar, green chillies and the imli paste (bit by bit so you can adjust for taste).
Keep tossing so it does not stick.
- Do a taste check to adjust imli, salt and sugar.
There should not be a strong sugar taste but just a tiny hint to balance the sour of the imli.
Turn off and add ground coconut, toss and serve warm.
Zelda's Note: You might like to add some vegetables when adding the sevaiya in, like julienned carrots, tiny chopped pieces French beans, a little peas, chopped onions, keeping vegetables to sevaiya ratio 1:1.
In place of imli you can opt to add a few tsp lime juice.
Caution: Careful while adding oil and ghee. It should neither get too oily or too dry