As far back as I can remember we’d always eaten pohe (plural) or poha in my childhood home. Whether it was something my mother picked up during their stays in army cantonments in Maharashtra, or was it passed down from my maternal grandmother who was always trying new recipes or an influence of my paternal family who’d lived in Madhya Pradesh, a state bordering Maharashtra and with a mixed culinary tradition, I’ll never know. All I know is that decades later this is still a snack I love! Try it.
Of long moves, packing and snacks, Poha – flattened rice flakes and pots full of tea.
The long silence that we’ve had on this blog is thanks to hectic activity in the past couple of days. It’s’ the season of moves. While my husband and I are moving home, Akkta is going forth to start a Masters and my parents are moving homes too! All the best to Akkta for her new endeavour, may she shine bright and make us all proud! As far as our move, it’s bitter-sweet. If there is an ideal time period to settle into a town, I would peg it at 3 years. That’s how long we have been in our current township and just as the routes were getting mapped on our brains and we were developing rapports with eatery owners (foodie alert!), grocers, local businesses; it’s time to up and move.
Moving – an adventure, a deep dive into memories and a massive clean up
Every move is challenging and exciting. As a child I always loved them, though for an army kid I led a fairly settled life and didn’t hop a school each year. While the rearrangement of furniture according to a new floor plan appeals to the decorator within, the process of packing and unpacking is a tiring but cathartic experience. There are so many memories that get hidden behind the new; each layer that I remove from the bookshelf or wardrobe takes me back a few months or even a year. It’s a revelation of all that we’ve done, thought and heard from others we know. But these reminisces aside, moving is about a massive spring clean up.
If you grew up in India with those floor to ceiling built-in wardrobes, you know what I mean by the ‘kabhi toh kaam aayega‘ (will be useful someday) category of things stored in the topmost shelves. Almost always, writing from experience, those things never get used. Out of sight is literally out of mind and usually a death knell for the junk rotting up there. I know some who compulsively store things, (hoarder is too harsh!) I am sure you know a few too! So, while I try to clear the clutter and pack up, I am sharing with you one of my favorite snack time/ breakfast combinations- Pohe with a cup of Ginger tea.
Poha or Pohe – an easy snack and quick breakfast
Total Cooking Time ~ 30 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes, Active cooking: 15 minutes.
Pohe are flattened rice that are used mostly in rice-growing belts of the Indian subcontinent to prepare snacks. Though my family comes from north-western India, Pohe have been a part of our food repertoire for at least three generations. The version I grew up eating is a common preparation in Maharashtra. My father was posted there, but before my parents, my grandparents had already set the foundations for an inclusive and adaptive cooking style.
Ingredients for Pohe
- Poha (flattened rice), 2 cups, dry
- Cooking oil, 3-4 tbsp
- Curry leaves/kadi patta, 7-10
- Green chillies, 2
- Mustard seeds/Rai, 1 tsp
- Peanuts, 1/2 cup
- Onion,chopped, 1
- Turmeric powder,1/2 to 1 tsp
- Red chilly powder, 1/2 tsp
- Salt and pepper to taste. (1 tsp approximately)
- Frozen mixed vegetables, 1 cup
- Lime/lemon, 1/2
Let’s make Poha
First, measure and put the pohe in a large bowl. To clean them you can do a visual check first to remove any chaff that might still be in there, this is made from rice after all! Then, wash it. Do not mush it in your hand. Gently fill the bowl of poha with water and run your hand though them. Drain the water, it will most likely be milky. Fill the bowl again and repeat until water runs clear, usually by the third wash. Next, strain pohe in a colander or large sieve and let them sit while you prepare the base or tadka.
Make the Tadka/base for Poha
Wash curry leaves, chillies and peeled onions. Thinly chop the onion and the chillies.
Next in a wok or pan, heat oil. To this add rai seeds and washed curry leaves. Once the two are cracklings throw in the peanuts. I do not deep fry but let them roast until reddish-brown.
Once the peanuts are done, add onions. Cook for just a minute or two. I like to keep the onions a little crunchy. Add seasonings and mix well. Off late I have started adding about a cup of mixed vegetables, if you want to then do it at this stage. Let them cook for about 5 minutes or until soft.
Bring it all together
Finally, add the pohe that have been sitting in the sieve. Mix well with the base, turn the heat to low and cover. After a few minutes, uncover and add squeeze the juice of half a lime. Serve hot, garnished with coriander and accompanied with some hot and spicy tomato ketchup and homemade mint coriander chutney.
Adrakwali Chai (Ginger tea)
If you are like me then you want the snack and tea to be ready together.
Since making tea doesn’t require too much preparation, you will be able to manage it quite well. Tea is my favourite morning and evening beverage 🙂
Let’s make adrakwali chai
Time: 12 to 15 minutes
You will need a medium sized saucepan and a sieve. Cups or mugs to serve tea.
- Adrak/Ginger, 1 inch piece sliced
- Water, 3 cups
- Milk, about 1 cup
- Tea leaves, 2-3 tsp
- Sugar, to taste
This post is like an addendum to an earlier post about tea seasonings. I had thought about writing a post on ginger tea, it is a staple in the winter months, but took a while to finally get to it.
Look at the post here to see the process of making tea. It is simple, add water to a pot, put in the ginger. When using ginger, wash it well, peel it and then crush it with a pestle before adding it to the pot. Before you add tea leaves let the ginger come to a boil with the water – you will be able to smell ginger in the air in a bit. That’s when it’s ready for the tea leaves. Let them boil for at least 5 minutes before adding milk. Depending on how dark you like your tea you can vary the time and the quantity of milk.
Strain the concoction into mugs/cups and serve it hot. Enjoy with some pohe!
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Poha with peanuts and mixed vegetables served with chai
- Bowl for washing poha
- Strainer/seive/colander for draining poha
- Kadhai/deep frying pan for cooking
- 2 cups Dry Poha
- 3-4 tbsp Oil olive oil or any flavorless cooking oil
- 7-10 Kari Patta/Curry Leaves fresh preferably, or dry
- 2 Hari Mirch/Green Chillies
- 1 tsp Rai/Black Mustard Seeds
- 1/2 cup Peanuts
- 1 Pyaaz/Onion chopped
- 1/2 tsp Haldi/Turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp Laal mirchi/Red Chili powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup Frozen mixed vegetables optional
- 1/2 Lime/lemon to squeeze over poha
For Adrakwali Chai – Ginger Tea
- 1, one inch piece Adrak/Ginger grated or finely sliced
- 3 cups Paani/Water
- 1 cup Doodh/Milk 2% fat or your preferred fat percentage
- 2-3 tsp Chai patti/Tea leaves more for a stronger brew
- Sugar to taste
To Make the Poha
- Measure and put the pohe(plural of poha) in a large bowl. Remove any chaff that might still be in there. Then, wash it. Do not mush it in your hand. Fill the bowl of poha with water and run your hand through them. Drain the water, it will most likely be milky. Fill the bowl again and repeat until water runs clear, usually by the third wash. Next, strain pohe in a colander or large sieve and let them sit while you prepare the tadka.
- Wash curry leaves, chillies and peel onion. Finely chop the onion and chillies.
- Next in a wok or pan, heat oil. To this add rai seeds and washed curry leaves. Once the two are cracklings throw in the peanuts. I do not deep fry but let them roast until reddish-brown.
- Once the peanuts are done, add onions. Cook for just a minute or two. I like to keep the onions a little crunchy. Add seasonings and mix well. Of late I have started adding about a cup of mixed vegetables, if you want to then do it at this stage. Let them cook for about 5 minutes or until soft.
- Finally, add the pohe that have been sitting in the sieve. Mix well with the base, turn the heat to low and cover. After a few minutes, uncover and squeeze juice of half a lime. Serve hot, garnished with coriander and accompanied with some hot and spicy tomato ketchup and homemade mint coriander chutney.
For Adrakwali Chai / Ginger Tea
- Wash ginger well. Peel or not and then either grate it or finely slice it.
- Add water to a saucepan along with ginger and bring to a roiling boil. Your kitchen should start smelling warm with ginger's aroma.
- Once ginger has been boiling for a while, add tea leaves. Adjust quantity based on how dark or strong you like your tea. Boil for at least 5 minutes.
- Next, add milk. Depending on how milky you like your tea vary the quantity of milk.
- Strain the concoction into mugs/cups and serve it hot. Add sugar to taste. Enjoy with some pohe!