Thursday, January 19, 2012

One-Pot Wonders: Veggie Vermicelli

Veggie Vermicelli

The best thing about it is it's a one-pot dish.

1 cup pre-roasted vermicelli

1/4th cup small, black lentils (preferably soaked overnight or over a couple of hours)
1/3rd cup french cut green beans
2 pods garlic (crushed) - feel free to reduce the number to 1 if looking for a light garlic flavour
1/2 an onion chopped
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground chilli powder or paprika
1/2 tsp garam masala spice (optional)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Boiling water enough to cover the vermicelli - process comes after all ingredients have been mixed together.

Cooking process.

First, heat some cooking oil in a pot (regular olive oil's great too) or wok - medium heat. Add garlic and let it brown a little bit (don't overcook or brown them completely). Add chopped onion and saute for a bit until translucent. Next, add the spices - turmeric, ground chilli powder/paprika, garam masala (if using), ground cumin. Mix it around for a bit.

Then add the lentils and green beans with a little water enough to cook the lentils for a while (cover the pot) until they are soft. Check by carefully extracting a few lentils with a spoon, letting them cool a bit and then checking softness by trying to squish them under your thumb. They should be soft but not squish completely.

Once cooked, turn the heat to low and add the vermicelli. Give it a stir and add the boiling water enough to cover the vermicelli but not over the level as they can get overcooked. Stir once and cover for a few minutes. When the water level reduces and you can see the change in the vermicelli (they start to plump up a little as they absorb water), add salt. Cover the pot again keeping the heat low so the vermicelli doesn't burn as the water gets completely absorbed. Check again after 5 minutes and remove from heat once the water is fully absorbed.

Serves 2 with seconds/thirds depending on portion size. It's very addictive, though.

Substitutions - you can add carrots/bell peppers/shelled corn/peas any veggie you like. You can also substitute black lentils with pre-cooked red beans/lima beans/black beans. This is a very versatile dish and you can tweak the flavours by adding different spices (the next time I make it, will try a combination with thai spices, coconut milk and peanuts).

So, how do you rate this one? Do let me know whenever you try it in your kitchen.


  1. I like it all but the onion...may have to find a substitute.

  2. Hey Maria! Guess what, onion's not a requirement. It does change the flavour but vermicelli's delicate enough to take on any kind of flavour. One of my favourites is to just saute ginger bits in oil and add tomatoes, vermicelli and water and garnish it when it's done with chopped parsley.