Recipes: Kanda Poha

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I am surprised that I have not yet blogged and posted this dish. This dish is a staple breakfast item in my home state of Maharashtra and is so embedded into the Maharashtrian psyche that days without Kanda Poha may actually give some people withdrawal symptoms.

In our home, we don’t like to eat heavy meals for dinner, except maybe occasionally when we are dining out. So most dinners are simple, what, in other traditional homes, may be eaten for breakfast.

Last week when I prepared this for dinner, I took pictures and checked whether I had posted it or not, and it was a no, so here it goes….

Like most Indian food, every family prepares this in a different way and if you’ve come across a different recipe for this, it’s quite possible that both variants exist and thrive. Also Poha or beaten rice flakes recipes are common across India, especially in the west and south and each state, nay region or province may have their own specialty. Now add family taste differences into the mix and what you get is a recipe which will be different each time you eat it!

This particular recipe which I make has evolved over the years. I first learned it from a friend who is Maharashtrian and then played with it till it became something that my family likes. S loves this recipe as do the kids and it pops on the dinner table every few weeks. It’s not very difficult to make, most of the items will be available in your pantry. The only pre prep work you need to do is with the peanuts.

Kanda Poha

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pack poha or beaten rice flakes
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 potatoes chopped into small pieces
  • 1 green chilli, chopped into small slices
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1.5 tsps turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp oil
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • ½ tsp sugar (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup peanuts
  • 2 tbsps coconut (optional)
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

Method:

  • In a pan, dry fry the peanuts till they are crisp and slightly brown. When still slightly warm, using your fingers, remove as much of the skin as you can. It’s best if you can remove all the skin, but if not, it’s not the end of the world. When completely cool, using the pulse function of your blender/mixer, crush it a bit. You can make it into a fine powder if you want, but the way I like it is to have some powdered while the others are still in smaller peanut pieces.
  • Chop the onions, potatoes and chilli and keep aside.
  • In a colander, wash the beaten rice flakes and let the water drain completely. Then add a tsp of salt, the sugar and a tsp of turmeric powder and mix it well into the damp rice flakes. Use your hands to make sure all the flakes are coated. Put some of the powdered peanuts also into this mix and keep aside.
  • In a pan, heat the oil and when warm, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add the chilli and let it fry for a few minutes. Next add the remaining turmeric powder and asafoetida and stir for a couple of seconds. When the chilli is coated with the turmeric, add the onions and let it cook.
  • Once the onions are translucent, add the potatoes with some salt and let it cook well. You can add some water at this stage to help the potatoes cook. Don’t add too much water as the final dish has to be dry, just enough to help the potatoes cook and not catch the bottom of the pan.
  • When the potatoes are completely cooked, add the balance of the peanuts (or less if you don’t like too many peanuts) and let the peanuts absorb any of the water you may have added to the pan.
  • Once the water has been absorbed, add the damp poha and stir well to mix the onion/potato mixture with the rice flakes. When everything comes together well, add the optional coconut and the lemon juice and mix well.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

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