There is a quick and easy Batata Poha that I make – the flattened rice flakes mixed with herbs and fried potatoes, yum! This recipe is no more difficult, still quick and easy, very similar to the recipe that Tim and Saun gave me – just a few extra spices. It includes onions, steamed potatoes and peas, cashews and peanuts, coconut and warming spices. It is a light dish that is eaten for breakfast or tiffin snacks. It is perfect just with a cuppa. It can also be served for brunch, lunch or a light dinner – add some coconut chutney or a bowl of yoghurt for a quick,light and delicious meal. It can be packed into lunch boxes, taken on picnics or taken on trips as travel food. We love poha and have nearly a dozen recipes that use it.
Take note that this is made with the thick poha – poha is steamed and rolled/flattened rice – make sure that you buy poha and not puffed rice. When you visit your Indian grocery you will see that Poha comes in different thicknesses – Nylon (very thin and crisp), Paper, Thin, Medium, Thick and Dagdi (thick and chewy). There is also poha made from red rice and brown rice as well as white rice. The thicker types are soaked before use.
Kanda Batata Poha
2 cups thick poha
4 Tblspn ghee or Indian light sesame oil
0.5 tspn black mustard seeds
1 tspn channa dal
0.5 tspn cumin seeds
10 cashew halves
2 onions, sliced
10 curry leaves, torn into pieces
1 Tblspn fresh ginger, minced
0.5 tspn turmeric powder
2 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes and simmered until tender
0.5 cups peas, blanched
3 green chillies, chopped
1 bunch coriander leaves (reserve a few for garnish)
1 tspn coriander seeds, ground to a coarse powder (or use 0.75 tspn coriander powder)
0.25 cups roasted peanuts (unsalted) or get raw and toast in a saute pan
0.25 cup coconut, grated (fresh or frozen)
juice of 0.5 lime
sea salt to taste
Rinse the poha and soak for 5 – 10 minutes or until moist but not soggy. Taste the poha as it soaks. You do not want al dente but rather the poha must be soft all the way through without becoming soggy or falling apart. The soaking time depends on the quality and thickness of the poha. Brown rice poha and red rice poha take longer to soak and soften than white rice poha.
Drain and gently squeeze out the water. Break up any lumps with your fingers or a fork. Set aside.
Heat the ghee in a kadhai and add the mustard seeds. As they pop, add the channa dal, cumin seeds and cashew nuts. Saute until they are aromatic and begin to darken, then add the onions, curry leaves, ginger and turmeric. Saute until the onions are translucent.
Add the potatoes, peas, chillies, coriander leaves and salt. Toss very gently to mix without breaking up the potatoes.
Lower the heat and add the poha and ground coriander, and toss until the poha is covered with the spices and herbs and warmed through. Add a little water to the pan if needed or if the poha seems a little dry. Mix well, then remove the pan from the heat and squeeze over the lime juice over the poha.
Serve, garnished with peanuts, coriander leaves and coconut.
recipe notes and alternatives
Maharashtrian version of poha does not have added sugar, but the Gujarati Kanda Batata Poha includes 1 tspn sugar to balance the sweet and sour flavours.
Diced tomato can also be added with the peas.
Toppings can also include besan sev/ bhujiya, namkeen mixture and pomegranate kernels.