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Nadiya Hussain’s Chai Spiced Vermicelli

A wonderfully aromatic and warming vegan breakfast, Nadiya Hussain's vermicelli recipe, as seen on her BBC series, Nadiya's Family Favourites, is flavoured with chai spices and is a creative alternative to porridge.

From the book


When I was growing up, we used to eat this traditional recipe mostly at the weekends, but it has now become a regular weekday breakfast in my home, as an alternative to porridge. I have kept all the deliciousness of the whole spices used in the traditional recipe, but have replaced the butter and milk with coconut oil and coconut cream, making it a perfect breakfast for my vegan friends out there. It is warm, delicious and toasty, in all senses, and a perfect way to start the day. The aroma that will fill your kitchen and seep into your rooms is enough to rouse even the late wakers.

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15g coconut shavings (or desiccated coconut)
100g wheat pasta vermicelli
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 cardamom pod
2 tbsp coconut oil
500ml coconut cream
40g caster sugar


Place a medium non-stick saucepan on the hob on a medium heat. Drop in the coconut and stir occasionally as it toasts. This should only take a few minutes, so do not leave the pan because it can burn quickly, as I've been reminded by my smoke alarm on several occasions.

Once the coconut is toasted, pop it into a bowl and set aside. Using dry kitchen paper, wipe out the pan to remove any stray bits of coconut. Put the pan back on a medium heat and add the vermicelli. If yours is the kind that comes entwined like a bird’s nest, gently crush it in your palms and drop it into the pan. This is quite a lot of fun, and I love the crunchy sound. If you have the pre-cut stuff, you will have a little less fun.

Toast the vermicelli until the strands are golden. Make sure to keep stirring and moving the noodles around – they toast unevenly, which makes them a beautiful patchy brown colour. If you need to walk away for a minute or so while you are toasting, just take the pan off the heat. Toasting should take around 5 minutes.

As soon as the noodles are ready, add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf and cardamom pod and toast for another 2 minutes. You will know it is ready when your nostrils are filled with the aroma of these beautiful whole spices. Now add the coconut oil. If your oil is still in solid form, just stir it around until it has melted and has coated the vermicelli.

Stir in the coconut cream, then add the sugar and cook gently on a low heat to allow the spices to infuse and the mixture to thicken – this takes about 10 minutes. Don’t cover the pan or it may boil over. It is ready when the bubbles slow down and the mixture has thickened and reduced.

Serve while it’s hot, sprinkled with the toasted coconut you made earlier.

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From the book: Nadiya’s Family Favourites

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