Allow me to introduce you to one of my absolute favorite Indian dishes, 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!
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.
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.
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.
A small onion is chopped and chillies are diced…
The nuts and dried fruits are added to the pan once the onions become soft and translucent.
Then 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.
The only thing left to do is spoon it up into a bowl and dig in!
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Fry the onion and chilie in a small amount of oil or ghee until onions begin to brown.
- Chop the almonds or cashews. Add both the chopped nuts and dried fruits to the onion mixture and stir fry for about 2 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Toss in the chopped tomato, a pinch of sugar and fresh coriander leaves. Add salt to taste.
- 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! 🙂