Poha (Serves: 3-4; Preparation Time: 15 minutes)
When Amit and I were newly married, we resolved to live like the new age couples, resolutely western in our meal preferences.
So we decided to have only fancy sandwiches, subs, sausages, salami, scrambled eggs, pancakes et all for breakfast! We were quite industrious in our grocery shopping those days, going far and away to the distant markets in Delhi to organise our exotic breakfast table!
Oh! What days they were!! We used to reach our office with a sense of elation and pride, having gorged on a princely English breakfast. This ritual lasted till almost our first anniversary....
However, soon enough thereafter, we figured out that the Sterling denominated bills for the English ingredients were running the coffers dry! Also, it dawned on us that, all said and done, such fanciful breakfast ideas, while truly exotic, are best reserved for the leisurely weekends. The impractical ritual gave way to more convenient alternatives - Poha, Upma, Cereals, etc.
Poha is, by far, the most popular and healthy breakfast choice, enjoyed almost by everyone. Yet, making good poha can be tricky, specially because its quite easily turn out drier/wetter that desired. Hence, using the right proportion of ingredients and water is important for a yummy poha!
Here is my recipe
- 3 cups flattened rice (Poha/Chivda)
- 1 large onion, chopped into thin, long slices
- 1 medium sized potato, cut into 1" long pieces (french fry cut)
- 1/2 cup, unsalted raw peanuts
- 7-8 curry leaves
- 2 green chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tsp rai (mustard seeds)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt OR to taste
- 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 lemon's juice
- 1-2 tsp sugar OR to taste
- A bunch of coriander leaves, finely chopped
- A bunch of mint (pudina) leaves, finely chopped (can be substituted with dried pudina powder)
- Take the Poha in a large vessel; wash under running water and drain
- Sprinkle about a cap-full of potable water on the Poha and let it soak, for about 10-15 minutes
- Add salt, sugar, lemon juice, red chilli powder and 3/4 tsp of the turmeric powder to the Poha and toss well using a fork; now add half of the finely chopped coriander and pudina leaves - again set aside
- In a wok, heat 2 tbsp oil and fry the peanuts till they turn dark; once done, strain the peanuts and set aside (alternatively, roast the peanuts in the microwave for 4-5 minutes; let them cool and de-shell)
- In the hot oil remaining in the wok, crackle the rai and curry leaves; add the finely chopped onions and when they turn translucent, add the potatoes, green chillies, a pinch of salt and the remaining turmeric powder
- Lid the wok and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring intermittently (or longer, if the potatoes are not tender yet)
- Once the potatoes are cooked properly, bring the poha (that was kept aside) into the wok and mix well; add the fried (or roasted) peanuts and again mix gently ensuring that the poha grains do not break
- If the poha appears dry, sprinkle some more water; cover and cook for 3-4 minutes
- Turn off the gas and leave the wok covered so that the poha cooks in the gentle steam for some more time; doing this will allow the poha to turn soft and retain moisture
- Before serving, garnish with the remaining finely chopped coriander and pudina leaves
A spoonful of Bhujia can be sprinkled on the top for that crunchy taste; and the poha can served with fresh coriander/pudina chutney on the side