What’s Your Breakfast Story?
Poha (Flattened rice) – A simple ingredient in Indian kitchens that is high in nutritional value and can be used in a variety of dishes.
When it comes to breakfast recipes in India, nothing comes close to the humble poha. This dried rice flake is versatile and is much-loved across India. Roast it, Fry it, have it raw with milk or yoghurt or boil it like oatmeal. Legend has it that Sudama went to Dwarka to meet his childhood friend Krishna and all he took was this humble grain. Given that regional cuisines are popular as predicted by Godrej Food Trends Report 2020, we look at various ways poha is ubiquitous in India.
Chinrer polao is a quintessential Bengali style breakfast that contains a wide variety of seasonal vegetables such as potatoes, cauliflower, beans, peas and carrots. This dish is way sweeter than the regular poha made elsewhere in the country and garnished with crunchy fried peanuts, cashews and raisins. In Bengal, doi chinre is also a staple breakfast dish, considered good for gut health and loaded with nutrients.
Puli Aval Upma
It is a delicious tangy South Indian breakfast, which tastes similar to tamarind rice. In this dish, poha is soaked and cooked in tamarind paste. It is and tempered with mustard seeds, green chilli and curry leaves and garnished with roasted peanuts.
In Odisha, short-grained and fragrant rice — Acharmati — is used to prepare a slew of dishes like khichdi, pulao and kheer. Chuda is cooked with distinctive vegetables such as carrots and ginger, and tempered with mustard seeds but without turmeric powder.
This spicy and sweet dish is a Konkani staple for breakfast or as a tea-time snack. Kalayile means mixed in Konkani; it is as simple as that since it requires no soaking or cooking. Just combine poha (the thin variety) with grated coconut, jaggery or sugar, salt and a powdered spice powder called Kumta masala or phova pitto. This masala is said to have originated in Kumta (a town in North Karnataka), which is why this dish is often called Kumta Phovu. Different families have their variations — some prefer adding chopped onions, while others give it a tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Made with sweetened poha, it’s a festival favourite in Andhra Pradesh. A healthy alternative for mithai lovers, Atukula Laddu is made using poha, ghee and jaggery. Numerous variations exist and a common one includes Atukula Unda/Vundalu. Dry coconut powder, roasted chickpeas, peanuts and jaggery are added to make Atukula. These laddus can be stored up to a month in an airtight container.
If you are in Indore, you cannot miss the iconic sweet and sour Indori Poha, which became popular under the regime of the Holkars and the Scindias. Indore uses a lot of namkeens as toppings — the most famous being Indori sev, which gives the dish a whole new texture and flavour. The spice mix used in it is also unique comprising dry roasted spices such as cumin, bay leaf, nutmeg, mace, asafoetida, black salt, ginger powder, mango powder, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Indori poha pairs well with hot jalebi.
It is a traditional Goan festive preparation made with beaten rice, sugar, milk and a dash of cardamom. A variant of this pudding is the nalla rosanche fov, which is poha cooked in coconut milk.
Have you heard of any other poha varieties in India? Share with your comments below.