Poha (flattened rice with vegetables)

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In plain and simple terms, poha is just flattened rice. It is then mixed up and fried with various vegetables to create a very light dish, which is usually eaten for breakfast. You should be able to find the poha itself in any Asian or Indian supermarket, and I highly recommend buying a big bag of it when you find it somewhere!

In some parts of India, they add turmeric to make the poha yellow, but we left that out to highlight the colours of the vegetables. It is supposed to be quite dry, so I would advise against adding water unless the poha is really sticking together. Usually, if you just fry it for a bit longer, it should be fine. We don’t normally put carrots, but we had some in the fridge and they add a nice bit of colour, especially in combination with the peas. It is a lovely, light breakfast and makes for a great snack later in the day too!

This recipe is the property of Mummy Swindian, but she very kindly gave her permission to include it in the blog, so here it is!

Serves 4

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 300g poha
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely choped
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp urad daal (black lentils)
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped (optional)
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 2 fresh green chilis, finely chopped (if you want it less spicy, de-seed it first)
  • 1 large handful curry leaves
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 handful dry-roast peanuts (salted or unsalted – adjust salt in the poha accordingly)
  • 2 tsp salt (or less if your peanuts are salted)
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder / paprika
  • 4 tbsp fresh coriander, washed, stalks removed and finely chopped
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Yogurt and various pickles, to serve

Wash the poha through a sieve but do not soak it (else it will stick together!). Boil some salted water in a small saucepan and add the carrot. Drain after 5 minutes. The texture of the carrots should be like they are in a stir-fry – not soft but not hard!

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In a large, deep-bottomed pan, heat the oil and fry the mustard seeds  and daal. Once they pop, add curry leaves and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the onions (and ginger, if adding) and fry until soft. Then add the soaked poha and mix very well before adding the carrots, peas, fresh chili, peanuts and spices (salt and Kashmiri chili powder). Garnish with the fresh coriander (and lemon juice, if using).

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This dish is best served with yogurt, to combat the dryness, as well as various Indian pickles to enhance the taste.

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