Poha or flattened rice lends itself to a variety of dishes across the Indian subcontinent. One can make snacks, sweet and savoury mixtures, powder it and use it as a binder in fritters or as a dish by itself. Its versatility comes from its basic ingredient – rice. Raw Poha is prepared after flattening of rice and the dish – called Poha again, is prepared differently in different regions of the country. Flattened rice is a breakfast staple across South Asia also and is known by various names such as pauwa, avalakki, chivda or aval.

In the Indian state of Maharashtra where Marathi is the lingua franca, the word ‘Kanda’ means onions. The Maharashtrians prepare ‘kanda pohey’ meaning poha which liberally includes onions along with some curry leaves and mustard seeds in tempering. The North Indian Poha includes green peas and potatoes as well as roasted peanuts. The Indori Poha (from Indore in the state of Madhya Pradesh) is sweet and salty, uses lots of fresh chopped coriander, and serves onions on the side along with sev (savoury mixture) on top. Irrespective of the region, it is the ease and convenience that makes Poha popular all over the country.

The trick to preparing soft poha is rinsing the poha in a strainer and leaving it till it has to be put into the pan. You will know if the raw poha is ready for the pan when you take a flake and press between your forefingers and thumb and it breaks easily.

Poha | Picture credits - Freepik

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4 small portions 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Poha – washed, cleaned and strained  
  • 1 cup onions – finely chopped 
  • ½ tsp - mustard seeds
  • Pinch - asafoetida
  • 1/4th cup - grated coconut
  • 6 - 7 - green chilies
  • ¼ tsp - turmeric powder
  • 4 tbsp - oil
  • 1 tsp - sugar 
  • 1/4th cup - coriander leaves chopped 
  • Salt to taste

Method 

  • In a pan, add oil. The quantity should be a little more as poha absorbs oil… so it tends to dry the dish. However, if you use a little more then the poha remains soft 
  • Add mustard seeds, asafoetida, onions and saute till onions turn translucent 
  • Add green chillies and stir fry for 3-5 seconds
  • Add salt, turmeric and sugar and mix well
  • Add the soaked poha and stir fry for a few minutes. If you like roasted peanuts then you could put them in at this stage. Peanuts lend a crunchy texture to the dish 
  • Add fresh chopped coriander leaves and garnish with grated coconut, mix well 
  • Once done, turn off the heat – serve warm 

One serving of Poha contains about 70 per cent of complex carbs and 30 per cent of fat which makes it healthier than normal rice.