Proso Millet Lemon Sevai (Lemon Flavoured Millet Noodles)

Sevai is a very common breakfast dish in the southern parts of India. There is, however, a lot of confusion about the terminology of this fresh noodles. Sevai in North India refers to sevaiyan, a wheat vermicelli. Semia in North India refers to a kind of thin spaghetti. In South India, semia means exactly the same as in North India. However, sevai refers to freshly prepared rice noodles. But the term has now come to include millets too.
These noodles (I will call them sevai henceforth) are really delicious. They can be made in several different flavours – lemon, sesame, coconut, tamarind, tomato, eggplant, sweet. mint, coriander… The list goes on. If the noodles are not broken, then the dish is called idiappam or sevai or puttumayam or stringhoppers. All very confusing terminologies. Leaving these issues aside, it is worth noting that any dish based on these noodles is very, very tasty. But it does require a kind of noodle ‘press’ to squeeze out the noodles from the dough.
The dish that I will detail today is a proso millet lemon sevai. But you can use any kind of millet.

Proso Millet Lemon Sevai

1 cup proso millet (I used the grains, not the broken millet or the flour)
2 cups water
Unrefined salt to taste
To Temper
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1 tbsp peanuts (optional)
1 tomato, chopped
1 tsp split black lentils (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
1 tsp Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
1 sprig curry leaves
2 dried red chilis
Juice of one lemon
Wash and soak the millet overnight
Drain and add to a blender
Grind to a smooth batter, using enough water to get a pouring consistency
Transfer this batter to a saucepan and add salt
Cook on medium heat, stirring almost continuously
The batter will thicken
Continue cooking until it forms into a dough
Remove from heat
Let the dough cool
Knead it well
Transfer to the ‘press’ and squeeze out the sevai
Repeat the process for the remaining dough
Steam the sevai for about 10 minutes
Set aside
Heat a wok an add the mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add the peanuts, black lentils, red chilis and Bengal gram
Roast till the lentils turn golden brown
Add the tomato, asafoetida and turmeric powder
Mix well and cook till the tomato is mushy
Finally, add the curry leaves
Now add the sevai and mix well
The sevai will tend to break, but that’s the way it is meant to be
Mix well so that the tempering is well mixed with the sevai
Remove from heat and let it cool a little
Add the lemon juice and mix well
Serve at room temperature with a coconut chutney or raita (dip)

The Press Or Gun

There are several kinds of these ‘presses’, some more convenient than others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s