Poha, or flaked rice is used extensively in Indian cuisine, from dishes like this one to desserts and dosas. It is a thin dried par-boiled rice flake that can be stored easily and cooked fast.
I visited my cousin in Mumbai and her cook taught me to make this classic Maharashtrian dish. It is delicate, loaded with the traditional peanuts and banging with flavor. The delicate rice flakes are infused with the flavors of turmeric and chili, and accompanied with the crunch of peanuts and a hint of sweetness from the coconut. There are so many variations of this dish made by different communities, some include potatoes or peas and a variety of spices. This version is a classic, beautifully balanced and super good.
This dish is usually had for breakfast, though it can also be served as a snack in the evenings. For more of my recipes, click here.
3 cups flaked rice
3 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup raw peanuts
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
A pinch asafoetida
20-25 curry leaves
5-6 green chilies, cut into small circles, or to taste
3 cups onions, finely diced
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
Juice of 1 lime
Cilantro, minced, to garnish
Fresh grated coconut, to garnish
Lime wedges to serve
Wash the flaked rice in 3 changes in water and allow to drain completely in a colander. Allow to sit for 15 minutes for the rice to soften.
Heat the oil in a large pot and add the peanuts and fry till lightly browned. Remove and drain on paper towels.
In the same oil, add the mustard seeds and fry till they pop, about 5 seconds. Add the asafoetida and curry leaves. Add the green chilies immediately after and sauté for 30 seconds and add the onions. Sauté on medium heat till the onions are lightly golden, about 4-5 minutes. Add the turmeric and salt and give a good stir to mix the turmeric well.
Add the flaked rice and fried peanuts and mix in well. Toss well to coat the flaked rice with the spices and turmeric. Heat throughly and cook for 5 minutes.
Serve garnished with cilantro and grated coconut.
You can add peas to the recipe, right after adding the onions, and cook for 4 minutes and proceed with the recipe as described.
Another very traditional option is to add potatoes, finely diced, before adding the onions. Fry till cooked through. Proceed with the recipe as described.