Friday, April 3, 2009

Sevai (Thin Rice Noodles)

Sevai is a huge south Indian favorite. They are essentially thin rice noodles and are either eaten plain or mixed with spices to make it savory or like a sweet pudding. It is sort of difficult to make - it needs a bit of muscle work - but no more than, say, kneading dough or churning ice cream!

The rice noodles are thin and delicate and absolutely delicious.


Sevai


1 cup Parboiled Rice (or puzhungal arisi), soaked in water for 2 hours
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp Oil

Special equipment needed: Sevai press. The traditional ones were large and stood on the floor (that's the one I have). Now you get smaller, sleeker table-top versions - even automatic electric ones, that require you to just push a button.


After soaking, grind the salt and rice together with the water until smooth.

Heat a saucepan with the oil and add the batter. Keep stirring for approximately 10 minutes or until thick.

Remove from the stove and while warm, roll into tennis-ball sized balls. Steam the balls for about 1/2 hour, until cooked and tender.


Place the balls, one at a time, in the compartment of the press.


Turn the handle a couple of times, and presto - out comes the beautiful sevai!


Serve hot with more kozhambu. I've also frozen sevai and it keeps well for up to 3 months. When you are ready to serve, just sprinkle on some water and heat, covered, in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Other popular types of sevai: Mango Lemon Sevai, Coconut Sevai, Sweet Sevai and a healthy Ragi (finger millet or african millet - available in most Indian grocery stores) Sevai.

33 comments:

nithya at hungrydesi said...

mmmm my aunty made these for us last time we were in india...so yummy. maybe i'll try to pick up one of those electronic ones next time we visit :) happy to have found you on twitter!

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

mmm, sevai is my fav and they are perfect with More Kozhambu... I feel back at home now :)

Indhu said...

sevai looks awesome :)
must ahve tasted heavenly with mor kuzhambu :)

vegeyum said...

It looks amazing. I will have to look for a maker next time I am in India. The tomato kozhambu is on my must eat list - is there anything else that I could use to accompany it?

Superchef said...

the sevai press is gonna be the big thing i bring back from india on my next trip...love sevai n love it with mor kuzhambu!!yummy yumm!

Dragon said...

This sounds like such a fun time to make!

bee said...

that gadget is so cool. my mom had won. don't know where it disappeared. this is one dish i love and haven't eaten in 20 years.

DEESHA said...

I'd never have the patience to make these

jayasree said...

Nice step-by-step pics. Nothing can beat the home-made soft,silky sevai, isn't it.
I make atleast twice in a month.

vegeyum said...

Ya heeee! I found a press in my local indian shop - a small one, but will try it sometime, when I have time on a weekend.

Nags said...

pressing it after steaming is new to me! and that press looks very nifty :)

Curry Leaf said...

Love it A.Its a little tiresome work for lazy people like me.I have not tried it by myself.Its delicious

zurin said...

These are called puthu mayam in Malaysia. LOvely ! one of my fave snacks. Usually served with powdered palm sugar and some shredded fresh coconut YUM! a fave wth all Mlaysians of all races. Wish I had the tool to make some myself.

Arundathi said...


Nithya - Definitely should. Think I'll go get my own electronic one too! Good to see you on twitter too!

Ramya - :) Thank you.

Indhu - Yes it did! Thanks.

Vegeyum - hmm. You could make the flavored kinds in which case you don't need the more kozhambu. Or my husband and daughter have it with ghee and sugar, if you're a person with a sweet tooth.

Superchef - Yes, definitely get one. They have smaller ones now.

Dragon - hmm...not too much fun, but definitely an interesting workout! :)

bee - mums always seem to have strange but useful gadgets hidden away!

Deesha - :)

Jayasree - that's amazing!

Vegeyum - Cool!!! Let me know how it turns out.

Nags - how do you usually make it without steaming? would be interesting to try a different method.

Curry Leaf - Do try it - its really not that difficult.

Arundathi said...


Zurin - i didn't know that! very cool. my daughter and husband too love the sugar, coconut and ghee - glad other people do that too!

Laavanya said...

My parents have the exact same contraption and I was the official 'twister/turner' - loved the job :) Had no idea there were electric ones these days. Love idiyaapam have never had it with morkuzhambu though.. interesting.

Holler said...

That is just so fascinating!

aquadaze said...

Hi ...my first time here...great space you have here :)

Oh I just love the ..umm...wonder how to put it...slightly metallic taste...of the sevai when made in the iron press. Sadly, mine is broken, the store ought ones just don't match the homemade ones in taste!

Shree said...

Rice sevai + oil + pickle.. yummm treat.. Have to ask mom to make it for me when I go home next wknd :)

Raaga said...

Amma has a press like that at home... I think I'll pick it up from her to use whenever we move to Bangalore :)

This looks so inviting... I have some tomato more kuzhambu in the fridge (yeah... again) and this is so perfect :)

homecooked said...

Hey we make these back in Mangalore. We used to have it with sweet coconut broth! Thanks for putting this up.

Sunshinemom said...

I am yet to buy a sevai press. Am planning to buy one when my mother comes over soon! I love sevai and yours looks terrific:)

Priya said...

Wow thats an authentic sevai press...i love sevai too, yours looks too great..

Arundathi said...


Laavanya - wow - you must've had a lot of strength! yeah, i'm definitely gonna get an electric one soon.

Holler - :) a peek into south indian cooking!

Aquadaze - Thank you! yeah, the metallic taste is definitely there.

Shree - never had it with pickle and oil. Gonna try that next.

Raaga - When are you moving anyway? Glad you're enjoying the tomato more kozhambu!

homecooked - sweet coconut broth, like idiyappam, i suppose? hmm maybe even vegetable stew might be nice!

Sunshinemom - Don't wait, just go get one! Thanks!

Priya - Thank you :)

A_and_N said...

I love this. My granny made Puli Sevai and Lemon Sevai :D

Super it was. It's been such a long long time. Sigh.

Divya Vikram said...

Amma usually steams sevai after pressing them into noodles. This sounds different..

Arundathi said...


A & N - never had puli sevai. must be really good!

Divya Vikram - wow - that must be incredibly hard to press the dough into noodles before steaming! so much easier to press when the dough is soft.

Bharti said...

That looks like such a neat contraption Arundathi. Do hang on to it even if you get a new one. I've only eaten rice noodles in Asian cooking, like in Pho. I didn't realize it was an Indian thing too.

Arundathi said...


Bharti - Yeah, I'll definitely hold onto it! Sevai is a huge favorite in south India - very similar to the Kerala idiyappam

Priya Narasimhan said...

Nice post Arundhati.
We also make sevai frequently at home. Its a family favourite.

edith said...

This is so intereting. THe noodle looks like something we have in singapore that we eat with brown sugar and coconut.

Arundathi said...


Priya Narasimhan - In my home too. Thanks.

Edith - That's what I've heard - never had the sweet version.

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