SEMIYA BIRIYANI - A filling meal for busy weekdays and lazy weekends

After my husband gifted me a DSLR , I have never taken pictures in artificial light. Ahem!! I am no professional when it comes to photography. Some of the camera functions are still alien to me. But I have realized that the picture quality has a big difference when shot in natural light as opposed to artificial light. Of course, there are number of food bloggers who are exceptionally good at shooting images in artificial light - I don't deny that. I should say that I have still not mastered the nuances of camera handling and need time to experiment shooting in artificial light. Simple. 

So, pardon me for the images that I have posted below. These are the first set of food pictures that I shot around 7 pm on a Saturday evening. All of us were very hungry and I had to wind up the photo shoot ASAP and that explains the minimal prop set-up and lighting difference. Its almost straight from the stove. Needless to say that we all end up having cold meals doing elaborate photo sessions. I am sure most of you are nodding!

Coming to the recipe, Semiya Biriyani/ Vermicelli Biriyani is a breezy option for busy weeknights or lazy weekends. It has a good serving of mixed vegetables- diced, nicely spiced, seasoned and filling when served with Raita, ketchup or mint chutney. Though Vermicelli by itself is a Pasta variety, the approach adopted in cooking makes it the best lunch box recipe- in my opinion and competes very well with its International counter parts like Noodles or other Pasta dishes... and above all, I adore this Mom-made-version. Off to the recipe now.

Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking time: 15 min
Spice: Medium/ Spicy
Level: Medium
Category: Lunch Box, Tiffin
Cuisine: South Indian
Source: Mom
Nutritional Information

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 497
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19 g30 %
Saturated Fat 8 g39 %
Monounsaturated Fat 4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 45 mg15 %
Sodium 716 mg30 %
Potassium 949 mg27 %
Total Carbohydrate 63 g21 %
Dietary Fiber 10 g42 %
Sugars 13 g
Protein 19 g37 %
Vitamin A73 %
Vitamin C58 %
Calcium11 %
Iron21 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
  • 3 cups roasted Vermicelli
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 big onions chopped
  • 1 Carrot diced
  • 1 cup green peas boiled
  • 1/2 cup beans diced and boiled
  • 2 Medium sized Potatoes, diced
  • 1 tomato chopped fine ( optional)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 3-4 green chillies
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Garam masala powder/ Biriyani masala powder  ( optional)
  • 1 inch piece Cinnamon
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 3 green cardamom
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves
  • 1 sprig mint leaves
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • 8-10 cashew nuts
  • 10 ml Oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 + 1/2 cups of  hot water
  • Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a pan or Kadai and roast Vermicelli until fragrant. Transfer to a plate to cool. Heat 1 tbsp ghee again and fry the cashew nuts. Set aside.
  • Boil water and keep it handy. Grind ginger-garlic and green chillies to a paste.
  • In the same pan, add oil. When hot throw in the mustard seeds. When it pops add all the whole spices in. When it turns fragrant add slit green chillies, curry leaves and mint leaves. Stir well.
  • Next add chopped onions. Saute until translucent. Add tomatoes, turmeric powder and a dash of salt. Close with a lid and cook until it becomes mushy. Add the ginger-garlic- green chilli paste. Saute until the pungent odour is not felt anymore.
  • Add in chopped carrots, potatoes and beans. Add little more salt and continue sauteeing. Adding salt at this point help the vegetables cook faster but take care to add salt only for the vegetables. 
  • Add boiled peas and turmeric powder. Mix well and add 1/2 cup of hot water. Close and cook until the vegetables turn soft yet firm. Add 6 cups of hot water and add salt for vermicelli.
  • Add in the garam masala powder, sugar and chopped cilantro. Taste the broth to check for spice level, salt etc. Add whatever is required. Allow the mixture to come to a boil. 
  • Slowly add the roasted vermicelli and stir to prevent clumping. Increase the flame and combine well. Reduce the flame to low medium. Close with a lid and cook until all water is absorbed and the vermicelli softens. Add 1 tsp ghee in the end if you prefer. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 3-4 min.
  • Garnish with more cilantro and roasted cashew nuts. Serve hot with Onion-Cucumber Raita and Tomato sauce.


  1. I just love how your biriyani looks with all those nuts and all... yum! Got to try this...

  2. semiya biriyani looks awesome and filled with flavours

  3. looks yummy and colourful. love it any time of the day. make for me when I come to see u next time..


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