Made with flattened (and dried) rice, poha is a famous street food in India. There are different variations of poha in different regions. This one is from Bhopal.
As a child, I went to visit my khala (aunt) who lived in Bhopal. Among other memories I have from that trip, a vivid one is having poha. My uncle would go to the local street vendor every morning and brought it for breakfast for all of us. The poha used to be somewhat sweet, somewhat sour, and we loved it. I used to look forward to it every morning.
I tried recreating that same taste. I think I got what I was looking for, but without the memories and the people attached to it, it feels incomplete. Well, for now this Poha will have to do until I get a chance to visit my khala again which seems like a long shot living in Germany.
What is Poha?
Poha is basically parboiled, flattened and dried rice. It is available at the Indian stores by various names like flake rice, pawa, poha etc. Grains of poha, when hydrated, become fluffy and absorbent.
Poha is also the name of the dish that is popular in Western and Central India. Different regions have different ways of making it. The one shared today is popular in Bhopal.
If you are like me and can’t do with your eggs at breakfast, you can add any form of eggs on the side. I like it with boiled eggs and some sautéed veggies on the side.
Ingredients At A Glance
Bhopali Poha (Breakfast Style)
- 200 grams (1 ½ cup) poha (flattened rice)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 40 grams (¼ cup) peanuts
- ½ tsp cumin seeds (zeera)
- ½ tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- ½ tsp mustard seeds (raee)
- 1 dried red chili (chopped)
- 1 small red onion (finely diced)
- 1-2 green chilies (finely chopped)
- 18-20 curry leaves
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tsp powdered sugar
- ½ lime or lemon (juice)
- Put the poha into a sieve. Run water through it. Move the poha around with your hands gently, making sure that it gets wet through. Once the water comes out clean, let the excess water drip. Put it aside and let it soak until needed later.
- Heat a skillet/pan on medium low heat. Once hot, add the peanuts. Stir and fry until the peanuts have changed to a golden color. This will take about 3-4 minutes. Do this on medium low heat so the peanuts get nicely toasted and they do not burn.
- Add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, onion, green chili, curry leaves, spices and salt. Stir and sauté for about 2 minutes.
- Add the drained poha and the powdered sugar. Mix well until well combined. Switch off heat and then squeeze the juice of lime.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.