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Poha-Flattened Rice

Poha (flattened rice – available at Indian grocery stores), Poha – is available in various thicknesses, and it is a very easily digestible form of raw rice and very popular across Indian households.  All it need to be “ready to eat” is some liquid – hot or cold and seasoning. It is primarily used to prepare crunchy snacks, a south Indian dish called “Kanda Poha” (Onion Poha)or in light and simple fast foods and a variety of Indian dishes.

For the crunchy snacks, you would deep fry the Poha, flavour it with spices, add some fried nuts and ‘voila’ you have a perfect substitute for popcorn on the next movie night at home. It can also be a well-balanced nutritious “Meal in One” for kids and adults – Poha (iron) + mix vegetables (vitamins, minerals and fibre), and sprouts, soya nuggets or peanuts (protein) + plus the added flavour of spices and herbs and you are good to go.

Indians love Poha, and why not – it can be easily prepared, it is a nutritious dish because about 100g of raw Poha contains about 20mg of Iron (most vegetarians are always iron deficient and anaemic), Adding a squeeze of lemon juice to prepared Poha will aid in improving the absorption of the iron. Poha can be used in so many ways – softened Poha is a great way to add Iron when an infant is being weaned of breast or bottle milk.  Poha is a source of the good carbohydrates, and it is gluten free and good for diabetics as it promotes slow release of sugars into ones bloodstream – thus keeping blood sugar levels stable

As with everything – each region of India has their own name for it, their own recipes, their own methods of cooking and the addition of their own regional and seasonal ingredients. These are a few of my tried, tested and tasty versions

Onion Poha

25ml oil

8-10 curry leaves

5ml mustard seeds

5ml fennel seeds

125ml finely chopped onion

1-2 dry green chillies (optional)

25ml finely chopped coriander

10ml ginger paste

2.5ml turmeric powder

45ml sesame seeds

125ml roasted peanuts

50ml desiccated coconut

5ml sugar

5ml salt

10ml lemon juice

75ml chopped tomatoes

50ml grated carrots

75ml water

500ml poha (flaked & dried rice)

50ml water (use as needed)

50ml finely chopped coriander leaves for garnish

10ml sesame seeds for garnish

Method

  • Heat oil in a large flat pan and add the curry leaves, mustard and fennel seeds and allow the aroma to arise before lowering the heat
  • Add the onion, chilli (if using) and coriander and allow onions to cook and soften before adding the ginger paste and turmeric powder
  • Stir well and add sesame seeds, peanuts and desiccated coconut before seasoning with sugar, salt and lemon juice and once again stir well before adding the chopped tomatoes and grated carrots
  • Allow this to cook for 4-5minutes and add about 75ml water
  • Add the poha slowly and stir gently ensuring that the flakes are well coated
  • Add water if necessary and cover pan for 2-3minutes – remove lid and check if the poha is soft – if necessary add a little more water and allow to cook with the lid on
  • Once poha is cooked allow to stand with the lid off for about 5minutes before serving
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and a dollop of plain seasoned yoghurt and serve hot as a snack or light meal

Poha

40 ml oil

6-8 curry leaves

5ml black mustard seeds

5ml crushed cumin seeds

125ml finely chopped onions

10 ml grated/minced ginger

1-2 green chillies (optional)

45 ml sesame seeds

125ml dry roasted peanuts

10ml Amchur (dry mango powder) or

10ml lemon juice

500ml poha (flattened rice)

75ml boiling water

45ml chopped coriander leaves

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan and add curry leaves, seed spices and onions and cook till onions are slightly browned
  • Add ginger, chilli, sesame seeds and peanuts & mix well before adding either mango powder or lemon juice
  • Now add the poha and about 175ml boiling water – turn the heat off and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes
  • If the poha is not nicely puffed up add a bit more boiling water and stir well and coriander leaves
  • Garnish with more sesame seeds and peanuts before serving

Veggie Poha

25ml oil

8-10 curry leaves

5ml mustard seeds

5ml fennel seeds

50ml finely chopped onion

1-2 dry red chillies (optional)

25ml finely chopped coriander

5ml ginger & garlic paste

50ml finely chopped or grated tomatoes

50ml chopped mix peppers

50ml finely chopped cabbage

5ml sugar

5ml salt

10ml lemon juice

250ml poha (flaked & dried rice)

75ml water (use as needed)

50ml finely chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Method

  • Heat oil in a large flat pan and add the curry leaves, mustard seeds and allow the aroma to arise before lowering the heat
  • Add the onion, chilli (if using) and coriander and allow onions to cook and soften before adding the ginger & garlic paste
  • Stir well and then add the tomatoes, peppers & cabbage – cover pan and allow to cook for about 5-7minutes
  • Remove lid and season with sugar, salt & lemon juice and once again stir well before lowering the heat again
  • Add the poha slowly and stir gently ensuring that the flakes are well coated
  • If necessary add water – a few drops at a time, till the poha is soft and this process should take 3-5minutes
  • Cover the pan and allow to cook for about 2minutes – remove lid and turn the heat off and allow the poha to cook for a further 2minutes
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot as a snack or light meal

Sweet Poha

20 ml ghee or butter

3-4 sticks of cinnamon

1-2 pods of cardamom

30ml sultanas (optional)

125ml of chopped almonds and cashews

500ml poha (flattened rice)

100ml milk boiled with 3-4 saffron strands, pinch of cinnamon powder, pinch of nutmeg and pinch of cardamom powder and 75ml castor sugar

20ml crushed pistachios

Method

  • Heat ghee/butter in a pan and add cinnamon sticks, bruised cardamom pods and allow to cook for a few seconds
  • Now add the sultanas (if using) and chopped nuts and toss well till well coated and slightly browned
  • Now add the poha and boiling milk mixture – turn the heat off and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes
  • If the poha is not nicely puffed up add a bit more boiling milk and stir. (it needs to be dry and loose)
  • Garnish with crushed pistachios before serving

 

 

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