November 24, 2008

Sevai- A South Indian Delicacy

Sevai is a healthy dish made from rice. It is distinctly different from idiyappam/noolputtu. Both sevai and idiyappam fits into the description of rice noodles. And the similarity ends there. As kids we were happy to learn if sevai is made for evening tiffin. Probably the ladies who has to make may not have enjoyed much. The tedious work involved can easily put off the idea of making sevai. In most of the houses, the help from male members is warranted while pressing the steamed dumplings. In olden days it was the wooden/brass type. It calls for great strength to press them. Imagine the work involved when it has to be made for a family of 10 (I had stayed in a joint family then).

Parboiled rice (Puzhingalarissi) - 3 cups

Gingely oil - 3 tblspn
mustard seeds - 1 tspn
chana dal - 1 tblspn
red chilly - 1
green chilly - 5 nos
curry leaves

Grated coconut - 1 cup (optional). In my home, it is a must.

Wash and soak the rice in water for 4 hours. Grind the soaked rice with salt to a fine paste. The batter consistency should be thicker than idli batter.

I am giving three ways to prepare the steamed dumplings. Every house has their own way of making it

1)Sauteing the rice batter into dough and make dumplings and cook the dumplings in boiled water (My amma follows this method).

2) Sauteing the rice batter into dough and make dumplings and steam cook the dumplings in an idly steamer

3) Spoon the batter into oiled idly moulds and steam cook for 10 minutes ( I follow this which I learnt from my MIL) . This is the easiest of the three,according to me.
Press the dumplings into sevai using a sevai press. As soon as it is pressed, sevai is left to cool on a plate. While it is warm, gently separate them.

Heat oil, Season with mustard. When mustard seeds crackle, add chana dal. When dal turns light brown, add red chilly broken into two, chopped green chillies and curry leaves. Add to the pressed sevai. Garnish with coconut. Serve with any chuntey of your choice.

The base sevai can made into Lemon/Coconut/Tamarind sevai. You can convert the base sevai into any exotic dish as you would do with rice. Its all up to your imagination.

Click here to see the Automatic Sevai Cooker.

I am sending this to Srivalli's Rice mela


  1. It looks so delicious. Imagine making it for 10. Lot of work.

  2. But the work is worth :) Just beautiful ur white color sevai!

  3. My all time fav... looks tender and thin awesome...

  4. my mom used to make different kinds of sevai..looks delicious..

  5. Wow, sevai looks pearly white and delicious.

  6. We love this, Jayasree and the lemon variety too, but its been a while since I made it. I do find pressing it out difficult. :)

    I also use method 3) which I learnt from my SIL. I remember when we used to all live together and my husband and his brothers used to help us preass out the sevai through the "nazhi"!

  7. How I miss all these dishes here in Sydney! :-) Can just look at these snaps and drool !!

  8. My mother still has and uses that seva nazhi. Me - I take the easy way out and use Concord.

  9. I am yet to buy a nazhi. Till then I don't intend to go in for the ready version! The fresh one is so fluffy and tasty. We follow the third method. Yours looks beautiful! Sevai look very very inviting - I could grab a spoonful right now:) Love the lemon flavored version too!

  10. Sevai is always a favorite one jayasree...

  11. Sevai is healthy and delicious recipe,

  12. Looks Super delicious! mouth-watering recipe and nice pic!


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