In Maharashtrian households, Kande pohe is a staple breakfast or teatime snack made from beaten rice and onions with a tempering of mustard and chillies. It is also a popular snack when eating out in Maharashtra. Each part of Maharashtra makes it in a slightly different way- while in nagpur they add plenty green chillies, in Pune they add sev (bhujia) and grated coconut, in Mumbai it is often served with a garnish of coriander and a wedge of lemon whereas in Kolhapur it is served with ‘kat’ a spicy watery curry made from red chillies, onions, garlic and dried coconut. Whatever the version, it continues to be a healthy snack which is made fresh and served hot.
Kanda Poha are also the original gluten free snack that also come with a good amount of iron, carbohydrates, some protein and fibre. The addition of lime juice on kande pohe makes the iron absorption easier. Flattened rice digests slowly and hence keeps you feeling fuller for longer. And whats more, it takes only as much time to make as any instant noodles but is way way healthier and does not contain ANY additives!
To people who are familiar with this dish, it might seem like a very mundane recipe; but if not made right it can be dry, oily, soggy, difficult to swallow. A good ‘kanda poha’ is supposed to be fluffy, moist and not oily. So here you go!
You will need:
2 cups flattened rice, thick variety (jaada poha/jaade pohe)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, cut into halves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp hing (asafoetida) powder
2 tsp oil (I used sunflower oil)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
Take the poha in a strainer and wash it under running water for about 10 seconds. Keep it aside in the strainer. Do not drain out the water thoroughly, it is alright if some water remains and its not drained dry! :)
In a thick bottomed pan, heat the oil, then add the mustard seeds to it. Once the seeds start sputtering, add in the hing, turmeric and green chillies. Now add the chopped onion, salt and stir well. The salt will ‘sweat’ the onions and will draw the moisture out, which will in turn keep the poha moist too.
Once the onions are pink, add the washed poha and mix well. It might seem that the turmeric is less, but mix it thoroughly breaking lumps if any and it should be fine. If you prefer more yellow poha, then add a little more turmeric powder. Caution : addition of too much turmeric powder will make the poha bitter!
Sprinkle 2 tbsp water over the poha and the sugar, give it a quick stir and cover the pan, keep the heat low. After a minute, check the seasoning (salt) and serve hot with a garnish of coriander and a wedge of lemon.
NOTE: Washed poha make for a tasty breakfast cereal option when had with warm milk and a bit of jaggery or sugar.