Breakfast, Sevai

Lemon Sevai | Semiya Upma (Lemon Vermicelli)

Lemon Sevai / Elumichai Sevai

Sevai in tamil refers to string hoppers or thin noodles made with mostly rice, although millets and ragi (finger millet) sevai also has been around for a long time. These are light breakfast or tiffins (palaharam / supper) eaten in Tamilnadu homes. The sevai can be made from scratch or can be prepared from store bought Rice noodles too.

Sevai or Vermicelli upma is a favourite evening snack and we all love to have it for breakfast even. Quick to make and takes very little oil, you can add as much any vegetables to this to make it healthy too – like peas, carrots, capsicum.. The punch however comes with a drizzle of lemon juice added just before serving. While I like Ragi Sevai (finger millter sting hoppers) or any Upma with very little lemon, this is surely one dish which can do with a reasonable amount of Lemon.  Serve it for either snack or breakfast, and you are surely to love this.


Sevai vs. Idiyappam vs. Vermicelli

Sevai as referred to earlier can be made with either millets or rice, whereas Idiyappam is made with a processed rice flour. Vermicelli is the generic name for these noodles while also referring to the hard semolina / durum wheat based noodles that are used in Kheer / Sheer Kurma/ Upma.

Lemon SevaiPin

What other flavours of Sevai can be made apart from Lemon Sevai?

Sevai can be made in Tamarind base, Coconut, Tomato base usually. Lemon Sevai is however one of the popular ones. This can be made simply with just lemons, or veggies and / or onions added. All 3 variations are a winner.

Ragi SEvaiPin
Coconut SevaiPin

Did you know about the story of Vermicelli / Sevai ?

Spanning across many regions of the world, the thin noodles have so many variations that self-anointed purists would only be left scratching their heads. In fact, there are no clear answers even to where the story of the worm-like strands began. In Italy, as the Tuscan name suggests? Or, in China as countless Marco Polo stories would suggest. Vermicelli is of course pervasive today all over south-east Asia, in west Asia and in the Indian subcontinent too apart from its two big outposts, Italy and China.Tracing these various versions of the noodle across the world is not just a fun exercise but also quite instructive: There can be no boundaries and no snobbery in the world of food.We can only conjecture that the vermicelli made its way into India through trade with the Arab world that connected the west with the east for so many hundred years; as a result imbibing within its fold so many culinary treasures. (source – NDTV food)

Lemon SevaiPin

What is served with Sevai?

Usually, coconut chutney is very popular with this, and sometimes as it’s spicy on its own we skip the chutney too. But at home, we love it with Kothamalli -Thengai Chutney (Cilantro+coconut chutney). If you need more options of Chutney to serve with Sevai or any other breakfast, head to this collection of 20+ easy chutney varieties that you can make in a jiffy.

Lemon SevaiPin

Lemon Veg Sevai – let’s get cracking

Prep time : 10 mins | Cook time : 15 mins | Serves : 3

Serving Suggestions : Plain chilled yoghurt or Coconut Chutney


  • Rice Sevai – 200 gms (I used Double Horse Brand)
  • Oil – 2 tsp
  • Veggies – capsicum & carrot – minced fine
  • Onions – 1 large (minced fine)
  • Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice – 1 tsp
  • Chillies – 2 (minced)
  • Grated coconut – 2 tsp 
  • Tempering : mustard seeds, curry leaves, Red chillies (1 no), coriander leaves, Urad dal (1/2 tsp)
  • Salt – 1 tsp


Refer the video embedded below to know the detailed steps. If you are visiting the channel for the first time, take a moment to like, share and subscribe to the channel.  ❤️ Do leave any comments below or on the channel on how you liked it or what changes you would like to make for you / your family.

Be sure to read the notes / Tips given at the end of the post too

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Lemon SevaiPin

Lemon Sevai

A Gluten Free, Vegan Snack / Breakfast made with Rice Vermicelli, vegetables and spices
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Servings 3


  • Kadai
  • Knife
  • Ladle


  • 200 g Rice Sevai I used Double Horse Brand
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 1/2 cup Mixed vegetables I used capsicum & carrot – minced fine
  • 1 Onions Minced fine
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Green Chillies
  • 1/4 cup Grated coconut
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 sprig Curry Leaves
  • 2 Dry Red Chillies
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Urad dal / Split black gram
  • 1 tsp Fresh Coriander



  1. I have used store bought Rice Vermicelli
  2. You can make your own Sevai at home from scratch too.
  3. Be sure to follow packet instructions to make the sevai, cool it thoroughly and then use it. Else the Upma will be too sticky.
  4. Cooking time for the plain sevai depends on the brand. So, be sure to read the packet instructions carefully.
  5. Additional addons for the sevai are : roasted peanuts, fresh peas, cabbage, french beans etc.  
Keyword Gluten Free, Quick Snack, Semiya, Sevai, Tiffins, Vegan, Vermicelli
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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  1. wow prefectly made lemon sevai 🙂 looks so delicious and yummy .. just tempting me !!

  2. Wish i get that plate for this droolworthy,tangy sevai,drooling here.

  3. cookingwithsapana

    Delicious one pot meal with lemony flavors !

  4. Sandhya Karandikar

    Mouthwatering lemon sevai.

  5. Chef Mireille

    mild and flavorful…looks delightful

  6. This is the first one on my fav. list. We used to make this from the scratch but now I go in for the fresh ones that are available in the shops and in the mornings they are still hot from the steaming process[That's how fresh it is!]. I just get a pack and season it. Looking at your pics, I am hungry now…

  7. So simple and delicious dish.

  8. Perfect breakfast for me with a cup of coffee..

  9. I love this with pickle..your plate looks very inviting!

  10. look so flavorful and tasty

  11. Love sevai in any are tempting, Kalyani.

  12. Gayathri Kumar

    My mom makes delicious lemon sevai. Your snaps are making me nostalgic…

  13. who can say no to this delicious sevai!!! perfect for lunchbox!!


  14. Lovely sevai..look perfect & tempting.

  15. Simple homely breakfasts like these make a good start for the day, right 🙂

  16. The Pumpkin Farm

    this is lovely recipe, will be handy next year when Shlok carries tiffin

  17. That is a delicious plate Kalyani…nalla uduri aa irukku:-)

  18. Sandhya Ramakrishnan

    Perfectly made sevai! I always want to make fresh one's but always ended up buying the store bought ones. I love lemon sevai the best!

  19. Mmmm! Kalnayi will you share? Awesome pics. I have the dried variety will make this out of them.

  20. Mayuri Patel

    5 stars
    Wow, Kalyani, love the colour of the lemon sevai. Looks so tempting. I love how in India we get ready made rice or millet sevai, miss that here. I probably will have to make the sevai at home to enjoy this dish.

  21. 5 stars
    I love Sevai and specially with the lemony taste. I always add a dash of lemon juice at the end. I will try your recipe soon, The sevai looks so perfectly done with each and every sevai separate and not soggy

  22. Poonam Bachhav

    5 stars
    Lemon sevai looks absolutely flavorful. It is such a delightful breakfast option!

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