Malli Sevai: Rice Noodles Flavoured With Ground Coriander Leaves
Image Credit: Unsplash

Vegan food, or healthy food in general, has often been synonymous with dull and lacklustre. More often than not, we tend to overlook recipes and treasures from our own culture that would easily categorise as vegan or gluten-free. ‘Tiffin meals’ are a category of food in South Indian cuisine that is often associated with quick, light meals that can be thrown together really easily. Usually eaten with an accompaniment like chutney, sambar or an array of podis, many restaurants across the region are known to serve their version of small but satiating meals.

Dishes like upma, tomato rice, idiyappam, uthappam, sevai are known to feature on these tiffin menus. Sevai, a pre-cooked rice noodle variety commonly found in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, is made in a variety of ways ranging from a simple tadka of lemon juice and mustard seeds or tossed with lots of cooked onions and tomatoes or mixed with a deliciously herby coriander paste that is cooked before being added to the rehydrated rice noodles. It tastes best when paired with a simple coconut or peanut chutney and has a mellow grassiness from the coriander that’s hard to miss. Find a recipe that serves two, below:


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  • 300 grams rice vermicelli
  • Half a bunch fresh coriander
  • 15-20 raw peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon asafoetida powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chana dal
  • 1.5 tablespoons gingely oil/vegetable oil
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 2 green chillies
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal
  • Salt to taste

Image Credits: Chitra's Recipes


  • Rehydrate the rice vermicelli simply by soaking the noodles in hot water for 5 minutes and running under a cold-water tap. Strain and set aside until further use.
  • In a kadhai, heat the oil and temper with the chana dal, urad dal, peanuts and mustard seeds. Stir them around until they start to pop. Meanwhile, wash and roughly chop the coriander and add it to a blender jar along with the green chillies, garlic and ginger. Blend into a smooth paste without any water.
  • Add the coriander paste to the tempering and cook for 3 minutes, until the raw smell of the coriander disappears. Add the salt enough to taste even for the vermicelli.
  • Toss the rehydrated noodles into this mix and take the pan off of heat as soon as the vermicelli has been added to the coriander mix. Make sure that each noodle strand is evenly coated with the coriander and check for seasoning. Add more, if necessary and serve warm with coconut chutney.