Pohe: A Maharashtrian Rice Snack (Vegan!)

Allow me to introduce you to one of my absolute favorite Indian dishes, Pohe!

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Pohe

Since Pohe is traditionally made and served in the west of India–specifically around Maharashtra– it’s not something most Bengali families would grow up eating.  Luckily for me (and you all!), Maa (my mother-in-law) learned to cook Pohe while Baba (father-in-law) worked in Mumbai…and boy, I’m glad she did!

This dish is often referred to as Kanda Pohe and is made from beaten rice flakes.  It usually includes onions, mustard seeds and large chunks of boiled potatoes. Ground turmeric gives it the bright, yellow color. 

That’s all good, yaar…but Maa, like myself, is an innovator–never quite satisfied with the traditional, and always looking for ways to improve.

She took the traditional pohe recipe and added vegetables, nuts, and dried fruits.  When she was visiting Piyush and I here in the US, she even tossed in a handful of cranberries to give it an “American twist.”  Every time she has made Pohe for me, it’s never once tasted the same.  It’s always different and absolutely incredible!

nuts and dried fruits

nuts and dried fruits

This is an incredibly versatile recipe–as most Indian recipes are– that can be thrown together quickly and can be served for breakfast, tiffin (snack/teatime) or even a light lunch.    

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Breakfast is ready!

I make this dish in the same way Maa taught me.  There really are no measurements as the recipe is quite forgiving.  This is a recipe that really can not be screwed up, anyone can make it!

First, I grab a medium-sized strainer and toss some beaten rice flakes into it.  The rice flakes can be purchased at any Indian market and are usually sold as “Poha” or “Pohe.”  They are also sold as Thick or Thin.  I prefer to buy the Thin, but either will work.

This time I had the thick version!

This time I had the thick version!

Then I drench the rice flakes under the faucet until they are all wet, toss a little turmeric on top of the flakes and then set them aside so they can soften up a little while I prepare the rest of the dish.

beaten rice flakes, poha

Beaten Rice Flakes with some turmeric thrown in for good measure!

A small onion is chopped and chillies are diced…

IMG_1011Oil is added to a large non-stick pan and once it’s hot, mustard seeds are added.  When they start to crackle and pop, the onions and chilies are tipped in.

cooking pohe

The nuts and dried fruits are added to the pan once the onions become soft and translucent.

cooking poheNext come the vegetables.  I added some frozen peas and carrots–but you could really add whatever you prefer—or even leave them out, if you want.

cooking poheAfter the veggies are warmed and the mixture is well cooked and fragrant, the rice flakes and turmeric are added to the pan.

poheIt gets stirred around and eventually the turmeric begins to color all the rice flakes a slight shade of yellow.

poheThen I toss in a cup–or so–of water, just to soften up the rice flakes a little more; and stir it around until the flakes are plumped and soft.  At this point the turmeric will also be better blended and the pohe will be a bright shade of yellow.

Some diced tomato and fresh coriander leaves are stirred in just moments before the whole dish is taken off the heat.

Pohe: ready to eat!

Pohe: ready to eat!

The only thing left to do is spoon it up into a bowl and dig in!

pohe, poha, indian poha, poha recipe, pohe recipe, easy pohe recipe, indian breakfastThis is seriously so good!  It’s amazing how ingredients as simple as turmeric and rice flakes can make something so flavorful and delicious.

Note:

  • Maa uses quite a lot of chilies in her pohe.  She tempers them in the oil before adding the onions.  She also uses the really hot chilies and just puts slits in them before adding them to the oil.  I don’t usually do this, but feel free to experiment if you enjoy really spicy foods. 
  • A lot of times I will add fried or boiled potatoes to the pohe just before I add in any additional veggies.  I’ve tossed in peanuts, leftover chunks of paneer and even pomegranate seeds.  The variations are endless!  

Pohe–Vegan Maharashtrian Rice Snack Recipe:

This recipe will make a LOT of pohe.  It will easily serve 4.

Ingredients:

  • About 2 cups beaten rice flakes (Poha), soaked
  • 1/2 tbsp – 1 tbsp. turmeric
  • 1 tbsp. oil (ghee if you’re not making vegan)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped (more if you like your food hot)
  • About 1/4 c. almonds or cashews (I used both this time)
  • Small handful golden raisins (I used dried cranberries–I like the sweet/tart taste of them)
  • 1/2 c. peas (or whatever veggies you’d like to add)
  • 1 roma tomato, chopped
  • small pinch of sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • fresh coriander leaves to garnish

Directions:

  1. Put the rice flakes in a strainer and wet the rice with water.  Add the turmeric to the rice (no need to stir it around) and set aside.
  2. Fry the onion and chilie in a small amount of oil or ghee until onions begin to brown.
  3. Chop the almonds or cashews.  Add both the chopped nuts and dried fruits to the onion mixture and stir fry for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the frozen peas.  Stir fry for an additional minute.  After the mixture is well cooked and fragrant, add the rice flakes.  Mix well until all the turmeric is blended.
  5. Add about 1/2 c. water and stir until all the rice flakes become slightly plumped and soft.  Add water, little by little, until this is achieved.
  6. Toss in the chopped tomato, a pinch of sugar and fresh coriander leaves.  Add salt to taste.
  7. Remove from heat and serve!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!  If you decide to give it a go, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

Also, I’ve been working on an exciting new project that I hope will co-exist along with this blog–details to come soon! 🙂

 

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37 thoughts on “Pohe: A Maharashtrian Rice Snack (Vegan!)

  1. tinywhitecottage

    So many flavors and ingredients I have never cooked with before. I would love to try this. It seems pretty simple, I think I may be able to do it. I think I would appreciate the cranberries in place of raisins too. Thank you for sharing your family recipe with us!

    Reply
    1. Shari Post author

      Thank you for the comment! I am certain you’d love it! This recipe really is simple to make. I think the hardest thing would be finding a bag of pohe—but if you have an Indian market nearby, even that will be easy!

      Please let me know if you give the recipe a go! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Anne F

    I want to try this, but I live in rural Nebraska, and well, basmati rice is hard to come by, much less Poha. Can this recipe be done with basmati? and how would one adapt the recipe to it?

    Reply
    1. Shari Post author

      Hello Anne! You could definitely substitute cooked (and preferably cooled before adding to the pan) basmati rice. Instead of this dish, you will end up with more of a pulao. The flavors will be similar, but a little different (basmati has a flavor of it’s own, really). It’d go great with a delicious curry or even by itself as a snack.

      If you give it a go, let me know how it turns out! 🙂

      Reply
    1. Shari Post author

      Magali,

      Would you like me to bring some rice flakes to work for you so you can try the recipe? Let me know, I just bought a new 6lb bag.

      Reply
  3. ritavegas

    The colors are so bright,the spices that you give a depth of flavor to any kind of dish.It looks so vibrant and delightful! will try to make this for sure and I’ll tell you my results 🙂 I already bookmark it!

    Reply
  4. chicorganicamama.com

    This looks great! I might try it with leftover basmati rice which I seem to frequently have in the fridge. But I also want to try the authentic recipe with the Poha. Just out of curiousity, what type of rice is used for Poha?

    Reply
  5. Leena

    I can’t believe you made pohe! I am a Maharashtrain from Maharashtra and loved the variation you did. For an authentic flavor you can add turmeric to the oil after the onions are cooked instead of adding it raw to the wet pohe it gives a lovely bright color also use mustard seeds and curry leaves for tempering. When pohe is served in a Maharashtrain house it is always garnished with grated fresh coconut and cilantro with a wedge of lime.

    Reply
    1. Shari Post author

      Thank you for the comment, Leena! That sounds great too! I sometimes will toss in curry leaves if I have them on hand, unfortunately they can be a little hard to find here in Rochester. I keep telling Piyush we need to get a curry plant…

      Reply
  6. poohalicious

    It’s surprising you learned and liked Pohe. Being a Maharashtrian, I am proud of you and all your achievements! As a variety you can add curry leaves for tempering and top it off with shaved coconut flakes or sev! Yum! 😀

    Reply

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