Happy New Year 2014 !
This recipe has appeared in Huffpost India
Ringing in the new year with this simple yet flavorful and tasteful Indian breakfast – Pohe or poha as it is popularly known in India. Poha or pohe is flattened rice or beaten rice, de-husked rice and flattened into dry flakes. A convenient food, a travel snacks that will keep fresh for days and poor man’s staple when eaten just with plain water, curd or jaggery. It has the right amount of carb that will sustain you enough throughout the day. When cooked along with vegetables it makes a complete meal. The endless list of garnishing element in poha makes it something super fancy and delightful.
Poha was never my childhood favourite breakfast. I was more like a “paratha person”, you can literally roll anything into the paratha, I would be happy to gulp it down with variety of homemade pickles that my Ma used to make it during the summers. In fact there were times when I used to detest poha like anything, may be the foodie in me has not arrived yet. So where traditional Indian breakfast options are immense and plentiful, at our home only paratha rules because of my unconditional love and patronage extended to it.
But things soon changed for better. I remember it was during one of my high school trips to Indore for a sporting event (yes I was an athlete and into sports) where I was forcibly fed on poha by my classmates. Perhaps that was the turning point and I reconsider my opinion on poha. Or may be it was the hot jalebis that lured me to taste the poha. However it may seem odd as a combo but in Indore, poha and jalebi rules the street food scenario.
Having spent a quarter of my life in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, Indore was and will always remain close to my heart because of its wide array of sumptuous street foods. I bet Indore can even beat the most overrated food destination in India. Though hardly anything is written about the cuisines of these two states, food from the heart of India has a unique element owing to its tribal population and number of small princely states whose erstwhile royal kitchens are keeping the traditions alive.
While Indore’s food is largely influenced by the neighbouring states but it has its own charm and magic. Just like this Indori poha. There exist hundreds of versions of making poha in India but nothing comes as close as Indori poha. A perfect balance of spices, flavoured with fennel, jewelled with pomegranates, hint of sweetness and an equally endless list of garnishing components that lends a unique touch to this dish. However Indori poha is still incomplete without the laung or Ratlami sev. Surprised ? Well, in MP it is perfectly legitimate to eat anything with sev. Poha and jalebi might be an odd combo but it work almost like magic.
- Flattened rice / chivda : 2 cup (thick variety)
- Potato ( diced / cubed) : 1 medium
- Onion (finely chopped) : 1 large
- Curry leaves : few
- Fennel seed : 1 tsp
- Mustard seed (black) : ½ tsp
- Peanuts (roasted without skin) : ½ cup
- Cashew nut : a handful
- Coconut (freshly grated ) : 2 tbsp
- Turmeric powder : ¼ tsp
- Salt and sugar to taste
- Cilantro leaves : few
- Pomegranate seeds : a handful
- Sev : a handful
- Lemon : 1
- Green chillies (finely chopped) : 1
- Oil : 1 tbsp
- Soak the poha in water for 5 minute. Drain the excess water and keep it aside.
- In a pan heat the oil, temper it with mustard seeds, fennel seeds and curry leaves.
- Once the seeds are lightly roasted and release the aroma, add half of the chopped onions.
- Once the onions become translucent, add the diced potatoes and fry for few more minutes.
- Add the chopped green chillies, peanuts, cashew and saute them for couple of minute.
- Now add salt and turmeric powder, cover and let the potatoes cooked in its own steam.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, add the soaked poha, stir it for few minutes.
- Check the seasonings, adjust the salt and sugar to taste.
- Switch off the heat, cover the pan and let it stand for 5 - 8 minutes.
- Poha should be ready by that time. It should be fluffy and able to retain its shape.
- Now garnish it with handful of grated coconut, remaining chopped onions and cilantro leaves.
- Squeeze a quart of lemon or more if you think so over the poha.
- Serve it warm with a generous serving of pomegranate seeds and sev .
Use the garnishing as per your liking.
Indori pohe are marked with prominence of pomegranate seeds, but as we have some pom haters in the family so I did not use it.
Do not skip the sugar. It is must here.
Have a Good Day !