Poha (flattened rice) is India’s favorite breakfast. Made in different ways in different regions, it is easy to make and tastes delicious. It is also considered as one of the healthiest breakfast options. The grain just needs some soaking and that’s it. You do not need to cook it separately like other grains. For such a classic recipe, everyone has their own versions. I am sharing my version with you which I make every other day for breakfast.
Over the last two years of my blogging career, I have been asked to post a video and recipe for poha several times. At first, I thought if I should. Because there are already so many poha recipes all over the internet. But I also realized there is no reason not to. And I can never say no to you guys. I make my poha with potatoes and fresh peas. I love how it tastes with these two vegetables, and I have really been making this for more than a decade. So it really can’t get more full proof than this.
Cooking the flattened rice perfectly
Poha turns out the best when each grain of the flattened rice is soft and separate from one another. This is where the technique comes in. Nobody likes a lumpy poha. Making poha fluffy and non-stick is a question many people also have. The trick is simple – do not soak the poha in water. If you soak your poha in water, it will get overcooked and stick to each other. So just follow this technique and you are good to go.
First up, place your poha on a sieve. Not put it under tap water and use your fingers to wash each grain. Do this for not more than ten to fifteen seconds. The sieve will ensure all the excess water also drains out. Set the sieve aside on top of a bowl, so that there is a way for the extra water to get out through the bottom (see video above). Leave it like that till you finally add it to your pan while cooking. And before you do that, gently use your fingers to separate the grains from one another.
In case you do not have a sieve, wash the poha in a bowl and squeeze the excess water out with your hands immediately. Let the washed poha rest on a plate till you use it.
So let’s get straight to the recipe without any delay:
Preparation time – 10 minutes
Cook time – 20 minutes
Serves – 2-3 people
- 200g poha or flattened rice
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
- A handful of raw peanuts
- 2 onions, chopped diagonally into thin strips
- 1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp split chickpeas or chana dal
- 5-6 fresh curry leaves
- 1 green chilli, slit in half
- 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
- 1 large potato, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup fresh green peas
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt to taste
- Lime juice (for garnish)
- Put the poha in a sieve as shown in the video. Wash the poha thoroughly under running water for 10 seconds. Use your fingers to make sure every grain is washed. Place the sieve on a bowl so that all the excess water drains out. Set it aside.
- Heat oil in a kadhai or pan. Fry the raw peanuts in the hot oil for about 30 seconds till they turn crunchy. Set aside.
- In the same kadhai, add some mustard seeds. Wait for them to splutter.
- Add the split chickpeas followed by the finely chopped ginger. Stir for ten seconds on medium flame.
- Next, add the onions. Saute the onions for a minute and then add the sugar. The onions need to be cooked on medium flame till they brown. The sugar will help it cook faster, add a beautiful brown colour to it and also make the poha slightly sweet.
- Once the onions are soft, add the curry leaves and give it a good stir.
- Among the vegetables, the potatoes will go in first. This is because they will take longer to cook. Fry the potatoes for five minutes in medium flame.
- The peas will follow next. Add them to the potatoes and give it a light mix. Now cover and cook for about five minutes in low flame till the potatoes and peas are cooked.
- Once the vegetables are cooked, add the chopped tomatoes and cover again for the minute.
- Season with salt and turmeric. Mix well.
- Check on the washed poha and use your fingers to separate the grains. Add them to the vegetables and mix well. Keep the flame at low at this point.
- Throw in the fried peanuts towards the end and mix everything well. Every grain of the poha must be layered with the masala.
- Serve hot with a drizzle of lime juice on top.
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