Vermicelli Sweet Corn Usli
This is a take on vermicelli usli, also known as upma — an ideal South Indian breakfast, savory and satisfying, full of vegetables and delicate fried noodles, and seasoned with coconut and cashews. Though commonly made with carrots and peas, you can toss in whatever vegetables you have on hand. In summer, fresh corn adds plenty of crunch and sweetness, and the dish works for lunch and dinner, just as it is.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 2tablespoons coconut oil
- 2cups wheat vermicelli noodles (see Tip)
- ½teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1teaspoon urad dal (optional)
- 1red onion, finely chopped
- 1sprig fresh curry leaves
- 1green chile, such as serrano, finely chopped
- 1teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- 1ear fresh corn, kernels cut off the cob
- ½cup roasted cashews, roughly chopped
- ¼cup cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
- ¼cup frozen or fresh grated coconut, plus more for garnish
- 1lime, halved
Step 1Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a medium pot with a fitted lid over medium heat. If the noodles are on the long side, break them up into roughly bite-size pieces. Add them to the pot, and use a wooden spoon to keep them moving so they get lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a bowl.
Step 2In the same pot, heat the remaining tablespoon oil over medium and fry the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the urad dal (if using), the onion, curry leaves, chile and salt. When the onion is completely softened, but not yet browned, add 1 cup water.
Step 3As soon as the water comes to a boil, add the toasted noodles, corn kernels, cashews, cilantro and coconut; stir well. Cover, and cook on low for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat, and let it rest for another 5 minutes.
Step 4Season to taste with salt and lime juice, then garnish with extra coconut and cilantro, and serve warm or at room temperature.