The breakfast staple across Maharashtra, poha is made in a variety of ways in each household.
Although I’ve had poha numerous times at home in Delhi, it is the memory of the poha I had at my friend’s house in Mumbai that I cannot forget. Residing in Thane, a hour’s drive from the main city, my friend treated us to a special Poha one fine morning. She called it kande pohe and I was quite intrigued to taste it. To my disappointment, I couldn’t find any potatoes or corn in the poha like I’m used to having at home. She told me that this is a special style of Maharashtrian poha made with flattened rice and onions. The next thing I knew, I was hogging on to a second plate of the poha in a row.
For the uninitiated, poha refers to flattened or beaten rice that has been parboiled. This is lighter, easier to digest and doesn’t require a lot of cooking time. Chiwda, for instance, is a popular snack that is made using poha and a host of other ingredients. Usually my mother soaks the poha in water and then drains it of all the water, tosses some mustard seeds and sliced onions in a scoop of oil till they turn golden. She adds the boiled peas, diced potatoes and boiled sweet corn to the kadhai. Finally, she adds the poha and spices like salt, red chilli powder and turmeric for the colour. Mixing everything together over low heat, the poha gets ready in no time.
This is easy-to-make and super filling for breakfast or even as evening snack. However, around the country, people eat poha in a variety of interesting ways that you may have been unaware of. In fact, the craze for poha in Maharashtra alone is so huge that there are poha styles of different regions within the state itself.
Here are some of the pohas of Maharashtra that you can try at home.
1. Dadpe Poha
Hailing from the Konkan culture, this coastal poha style makes use of thin and flaky poha rather than the usual thick chiwda. Dry and hassle-free dadpe pohe require no cooking and serve as a crunchy tea time snack. The poha is tossed with green chillies, mustard, coriander, scraped coconut and peanuts. Sugar is also added to it and gives the dish a distinct taste.
2. Batata Poha
Batata in Marathi refers to potatoes. As the name suggests, the poha is filled with diced potatoes. These potatoes are spruced up with turmeric, ginger-garlic paste and a few other spices before poha is added to them. Then all of it is mixed and cooked in milk. It is garnished with coriander leaves and a dash of lemon.
3. Tari Poha
This is a specialty of Nagpur, wherein the poha preparation quite similar to that of kanda poha but the additional element of tari gives the poha a nutritious and tasty touch. The black chana gravy is dunked on to the poha and relished along with the flattened rice.