Or, as I like to think of it:
heaven perfection deliciousness.
I first tasted poha when Avi made it for me a month or two after we started dating. Now, technically, it is a breakfast dish or “a snack,” but I like to think of it as “anytime” food. I make it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Or anytime I have the ingredients on hand, which is always. The only sad part about poha is that you may not have the ingredients available at your local grocery. Hopefully a cute little Indian grocery is somewhere near you.
It is the nicest blend of toasty, sweet, savory, potatoe-y goodness, with a little bit of fresh herb and bright lemon thrown in.
3-3 1/2 cups Poha (flattened rice)
2 tbsp. canola oil
1/3-1/2 cup of raw peantus (this is important because we toast them fresh for each batch, NUMMY!)
2 tbsp. canola oil (again)
1 tbsp. mustard seeds
Pinch of asofoetida
1 tsp. turmeric
4-6 curry leaves (fresh or dried)
1-2 thai green chilies chopped very small or 1/4 tsp. red chili powder
1 large or 2 smaller potatoes (diced into 1/2 by 1/4 inch cubes or thereabouts)
1 medium sweet onion (diced small)
1/2 tbsp. salt
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
optional: friend Sev noodles (picture and description here) Sadly, I was out of the tasty noodles
First, find your colander and measure the poha into it. Then run cool water over the poha for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside. Now heat your first 2 tbsp. of canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While your oil heats dice your onion and potatoes. Now chuck at least 1/3 cup of raw peanuts in your skillet and toast them well, I like more peanuts so I usually toast 1/2 cup. You know the peanuts are done when they start to “pop.” Remove the peanuts and set aside.
Add the second 2 tbsp. of canola oil to the skillet. When it is warm, add the mustard seeds, asofoetida, turmeric, and curry leaves and cook for 30-60 seconds. Now, add the onion, chilies, and potato to the skillet. Sprinkle the salt on to help the onions sweat. Cover the skillet and stir every 2 minutes or so, just to keep the potatoes from sticking. Once the vegetables are soft (10-12 minutes), stir in the softened poha and cook for 5 more minutes. If the dish is too dry (the poha is too hard), add 2-3 tbsp. of water. Squeeze one lemon over the finished poha.
To serve: spoon the poha onto a plate or into a large bowl. Add some peanuts and chopped cilantro. Sprinkle with a dab of salt to taste. Now stir it all together and taste it. You may want to add more lemon juice. (I like a lot of lemon.) Isn’t it yummy?