Saturday, July 4, 2015

Pasta with vermicelli noodles (semiya)


Most weekdays see me getting up really early at the crack of dawn to savor the fresh air,  and the peace that comes with solitude. 

I  have to admit, though, that I  have never yet  managed to get up earlier than my Neighbors. 

One would imagine,  that if one got up a quarter of an hour before sunrise,  one would be entitled to get up to the sounds of birdsong,  but no, I seem to live in a street of impossibly early risers.  I generally get up to the sounds of dishes being washed and of yards being swept all around me. Yet,  I  like to get up at this early hour and having gone through my ablutions and my  prayers, (just saying that links my soul somehow to all the men and women of all the ages past who did that very same thing,) sit down with a nice cup of tea by myself before the rest of the household wakes up,  and I have to get into the daily grind.

Weekends,  however bring out all the latent spirit of 'la dolce vita'  in me. I get up far after the sun has gotten tired of looking out for me and is halfway across the sky,  half heartedly put down a bowl of ready to eat cereal  most of the time for breakfast,  not even pretending to make a proper breakfast.  But overtime one  gets tired of eating cereal and I sleep walk my way through the usual Idli/dosa/upma routine. But once in a while my taste buds yearn for something more. It is then that all my creative genius and pinterest inspirations for quick to put together dishes comes to the fore. 
This is  such an easy foolproof dish ,  that I  can even make it  in my drowsiest state.

You will need
(for four servings approximately)

5 large Ripe tomatoes
4 peppercorns
A quarter teaspoon of ajwain
4 cloves of garlic
A quarter cup of walnuts (optional)
A quarter teaspoon of any south Indian pickle  (optional but really adds a zing)
A few sprigs of cilantro or mint leaves
1 cup of semiya (vermicilli)
2 cups of water
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil or sesame oil

Add salt to water (just enough so that it tastes like the sea) and bring it to a boil,  add the semiya to the water and simmer till the semiya is softened. Drain and set aside.  Reserve a quarter cup of  the  water for the sauce.
In the meantime grind  the walnuts,  garlic,  pepper,  pickle and ajwain together into a thick  paste,  add the tomatoes along with some salt to taste and puree.  (adding the tomatoes at the end ensures that all the ingredients are properly blended).
Heat oil in a saucepan,  add the tomato paste and stir on medium flame till it thickens a bit and starts to change color into a reddish brown hue.  Add the vermicelli and the reserved water and toss till about 80 percent of the water evaporates.  Add the mint /cilantro leaves and toss for a minute or more.  Plate into a pretty dish,  garnish with sliced tomatoes and cilantro(if you feel upto it) . Serve hot and enjoy.

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