Poha – Flattened Rice breakfast
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Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day and until recently, the meal was incomplete without some type of egg preparation. After moving to the US, I experimented with the Frittata and many different types of omelets and simply loved all of them. I honestly didn’t think I’d get bored with eggs, but a few weeks ago, I did. Pushed by my boredom and my husband’s constant requests to learn how to make a few Indian breakfast dishes, I took the recipe for Poha from my Mother.
Poha is a form of flattened rice that has a lower cooking time than regular rice grains. It absorbs liquid when soaked in Milk or water and essentially becomes good to eat right away, which makes it a very convenient, yet nutritious food. Different regions of India use the grain in a variety of preparations. The grain is used in main courses, crunchy snacks, desserts and breakfasts. My recipe for Poha is a Breakfast dish that hails from the state of Gujarat in Western India, where most people are vegetarians. I’ve seen people from some ethnic communities in India have it as lunch and some serve it as a snack with evening chai as well.
The grain is available in large packets at Indian grocery stores. 2 different varieties of Poha are available – Thick Poha & thin Poha. For the breakfast dish, we need to use the thick poha.
Prepared with peanuts, curry leaves and potatoes, this humble breakfast dish is spiced with black mustard seeds, whole green chilies and curry leaves. I have noticed that when I have a big bowl of Poha for breakfast, I feel less hungry and have fewer cravings the rest of the day.
To make Poha for 2 people, you will need:
- 3 cups Thick poha
- 1 medium sized potato, finely chopped
- About 1/2 cup sliced onions
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
- A handful of unsalted roasted peanuts
- 2 small green chilies, slit lengthwise
- 3-4 fresh curry leaves
- Salt to taste
- A pinch of turmeric
- Chopped Cilantro and lemon juice for garnishing
- Wash the Poha in a large bowl just like you would Rice. Small pieces of husk will rise to the surface of the water, which you need to drain off
- Soak the Poha in water that just covers all the grains. Keep aside
- While the Poha soaks, start chopping up the vegetables
- In a utensil, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds
- As soon as they begin to splutter, add the curry leaves, green chilies and peanuts
- Allow to fry for 15 seconds or so and add the onions
- Fry the Onions in the oil on medium heat. As soon as they begin to turn translucent, add the potatoes
- Fry the potatoes till they are cooked through. This shouldn’t take much time – about 10 minutes.
- While the potatoes cook, drain the Poha in a sieve and squeeze out all extra water using a large spoon
- Add a pinch of turmeric powder after the potatoes are cooked through, and mix well. Add salt to taste as well
- Finally add in the soaked Poha and mix well. Turn down the heat and allow the Poha to cook in it’s steam for 2 minutes
- Serve in a bowl. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and some chopped cilantro leaves. Enjoy with a cup of Masala Chai