Thursday, July 5, 2012

Seasoned Wheat Noodles (Govaa Shevya Usli/ Govaa Shevayi Phanna))

Last weekend was probably one of the best one we've had in a long time. For a change, it was great to be pampered with home style Konkani food and immerse ourselves in Konkani culture, talent shows, intellectual discussions and talks on heritage and the road ahead for preservation. Past weekend saw us attending Konkani Sammelan held at Edison, NJ. We had booked the tickets few months ago and were eagerly waiting to attend the event.

The Konkani Sammelan is a flagship event for the Konkanis in North America. The event was amazing with three days of fun fare and great food. I also got to taste some dishes which I had tried years ago at my Ammama's (Grandma's) place. Couple of pictures from Konkani Foodie were added in the slide show showcased at the Sammelan. For next few months, I will be preparing few dishes inspired by the Sammelan menu. Those eager to know the menu can access it from here.

Pre-made Wheat Noodles
Konkani Foodie also got featured in the Sammelan souvenir published, with a poem written by me on Konkani obsession with food dedicated to my dear mother. In addition, I got a chance opportunity to attend Creative Writing workshop which was graced by Shobhan Bantwal, one of my favorite commercial fiction writers. In addition, they had an interview with famous Iron Chef Floyd Cardoz who also spoke in detail about his love for home cooked food, his inspiration and selected few recipes which were judged my him for various categories as part of a cooking contest held during the Sammelan. I regret that I could not send my recipes for the contest, but a busy school year has kept me away from many things I love doing. One interesting thing said by Mr. Cardoz was - Know your food first before you go and explore a different cuisine. I ruminated on that thought for quite a bit. Few other dignitaries who attended the event were TV Mohandas Pai, Amrita Rao, Shyam Benegal and Kalpana Lajmi.

One of the days for breakfast, we had Shevya Usli which is a typical Konkani breakfast item. My palate was pleased and I remembered the dish so dearly. I have given my mother a lot of heartache over this breakfast staple which I lament and I'm certainly apologetic about. As a kid, for some weird reasons, I hated this dish and Ma constantly reminds me of the trouble I caused her. Shevayi is pre-made wheat noodles and Usli is seasoning, Govu means Wheat kernels. This dish is also known as Shevayi Phanna. These days, in specialty grocery stores in India, one gets variety of these noodles (Rice, Wheat, Ragi, Rulaav are the popular varieties available) which require a soak time of 20-30 minutes and can be cooked immediately for a super quick breakfast/ supper.

This spring, the husband's Uncle and Aunty visited us for an evening spend. One of the goodies they got for us were pre-made Wheat Noodles also known as Gova Shevayi. These noodles are not the commercially available kinds but are mostly hand-made and sold. It takes a bit of effort, but the taste of these noodles are a far cry from the popular semiya/ vermicelli brands. Back from Sammelan, I used the Shevayi immediately and felt transported to India. This Usli is neither sweet nor salty and the seasoning adds the extra kick. Instead of adding salt and sugar directly, I follow my Ma's approach - Add a solution of sugar and salt mixed and sprinkle it on the Shevayi. My Ma makes this Usli on special days when she observes Fast (Upvaas) or when she wants a special Saatvik diet.

~ Shevya Usli/ Shevayi Phanna ~
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Wheat Noodles (Govaa Shevayi) - 4 cups
Salt (1/2 tsp) + Sugar (1/2 tsp) mixed in 3 tbsp. water 
Coconut Oil

For Seasoning -
Urad Dal (split) - 1 tsp
Chana Dal  - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Green Chillies (sliced lengthwise) - 2
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

For Garnish -
Grated coconut (fresh or frozen) - 4 tbsp

1. Check the noodles if they dry enough, if they have moisture content in them, dry them in the sun till they are evenly dry.
2. Soak them in water for 20-30 minutes (regular room temperature water is fine but I soak them in hot water). Once done, they will proliferate in size and become a bit tender. Drain off the water and lightly crush them with your hands to break them gently.
3. Heat a deep dish pan and once hot enough, add coconut oil and season with mustard seeds and green chillies. Once they splutter, add curry leaves, Chana Dal and Urad Dal. Reduce the flame to medium and saute lightly for a minute till the Dal turns light brown. Add the soaked noodles now and mix well. Add the salt and sugar mixed in water now and give the noodles a good toss. Toss for 2-3 minutes till the noodles form a homogeneous mixture. Taste for spice and flavor. Turn off the flame and garnish with grated coconut.

Note - The pre-made noodles need to be stored well in a dry place away from moisture. The noodles turn bad as soon as they come in contact with moisture. Sun-dry or lightly toast in oven on low temperature for few minutes if they have absorbed moisture.


  1. I love Govan shenvayi... Yummy.. I drain soaked noodles and then add salt and sugar to it.. before the phanna :)Your idea of salt and sugar water is interesting will try next time..I have kept this post pending for long.. :)

    1. @ Uj -

      Thank you. I had long forgotten the flavor until our Uncle visiting got the goodies from India. If I add salt and sugar (crystals) the flavors spreads unevenly. The solution works better and gets nicely absorbed. Do give a try. :)


I appreciate any comment and would love to hear from you. Trust you enjoy my blog.