Bright New Year, Bright Yellow Lemon Sevai

Happy New Year everyone! The new year weekend was fun, and we had family and friends over, and there was eating and drinking and general merriment and now everyone is back to work.

And my son had a new year’s gift in the form of his vaccine shot, so he was not a very happy trooper after we left the hospital. But he was fine once we got home and he got a chance to play with his new giant caterpillar toy, which was his real new year’s gift from his aunt.

I haven’t posted in a while, but that is also because I was away, visiting family in Chennai. Each time I go back, I am reminded why I love the city so much: the food! From the freshest seafood to the softest idlis, Chennai has so much to offer. And whenever the whole family gets together in Chennai, there is always a lot to eat.

After so many wonderful breakfasts of idlis, dosas, pongal, upma and puttu, I couldn’t bear the thought of getting back to Special K this morning. I needed a South Indian breakfast. Since I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping after getting back, I had to make do with whatever was in store. I had a few packets of rice sevai, some coriander, and lots of lemons. And I thought: lemon sevai!

Rice sevai is a kind of thin rice noodle. Easy to make, and very versatile. You can turn it into a breakfast dish, cook it with warm milk, sugar and some spices to make payasam, layer it with chicken to make a biriyani…pretty good stuff.

Lemon sevai


For The Lemon Sevai


  • 1 pack MTR rice sevai (this works out to about 450-500 grams; I used MTR but you can use any brand you want.)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon white urad dal (black gram)
  • Juice of 1 lemon/lime (I use desi nimbu. I still do not know the difference between a lime and a lemon!)
  • Salt to taste
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil


  • Cook the sevai as per the instructions on the pack, drain and keep aside. (It is pretty much like cooking pasta.)
  • In a wok, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop.
  • Then add the white urad dal and the turmeric and stir fry for a minute or two.
  • Next, add the cooked sevai, the curry leaves and lime juice and cook till everything is evenly coated. Add salt to taste.

For The Chutney

  • 3 tablespoons set curd
  • 3 tablespoons grated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  • 1 green chilli
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (You can skip this one if you want to.)

A good coconut chutney needs lots of grated coconut, and some mustard seeds and curry leaves for tempering. But I was lazy. This is my quick-fix chutney. Just put everything together in the blender and whizz (or zhuzh) around till it is well blended and light green. That’s all.

A nice bright start to blogposting in 2012. That was a pretty good breakfast considering I was working with a nearly-empty refrigerator. When life gives you lemons, and you are South Indian, you make lemon sevai!