15 June 2009

Love, Hate, and Poha

Today Sharell wrote about 5 Indian foods she loves and hates. She mentioned hating Indian breakfasts because it seems strange to her to eat chapatis, curry, or other "dinner" foods at the beginning of the day. So, I suggested poha, which is one of our favorite breakfasts--recipe to follow.

Five Indian foods I love:
1. Paranthas, either made by Mummy or from Parantha Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk.
2. Raj Kachori from Haldiram's: a big crunchy kachori filled with aloo, chickpeas, yogurt, chutneys, pomegranate seeds, and other things. It's a taste explosion and I think I would be willing to pay 50 bucks to have one right now.
3. Gajjar ka halwa, sweet and delicious carrot pudding.
4. Vegetable pakoras (from my husband's hand).
5. Pau bhaji, a wonderful mixed vegetable subjee served with soft buttered rolls.

Five Indian foods I hate (and this is hard, because I don't hate much!)
1. These black chickpeas that my husband loves as a snack.
2. Murmure--I've never liked Rice Krispies very much, and this is just a spicy non-milk version.
3. Kheer: well, I don't really hate it, but I don't like it enough to seek it out either. It's too plain tasting.
4. This sort of lotus thing that tastes like water chestnuts--I'm not sure what it's called. Again, it has a plain taste that is hard to choke down.
5. Anything with too much black salt flavor. A tiny pinch is fine, but if it's the main flavor I can't stand it. Haldiram makes a sort of cornflake snack that tastes overwhelmingly of black salt, bleh.

I'm pretty lucky that since I grew up eating such spicy food, and I already had an adventurous palate, that I've loved almost everything I've tasted in India or that we've made here. My husband jokes that I should have been born there.

Now, for Sharell, my poha recipe/method (I never really measure when I make it, so I hope the proportions are right):


1 tbs oil
1/3 cup raw peanuts
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
About 4 cups of thin (NOT thick) poha (beaten rice flakes)
1 tsp or so of turmeric
1 chopped onion
1-2 minced green chiles
1 tsp red chile powder (or to taste)
lime juice, to taste
chopped cilantro for garnish
sugar, if desired

In a large skillet, heat the oil, then add the peanuts and cook, stirring, until they get toasted.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, pour the poha and add the turmeric. Pour over enough water to moisten evenly but not make it soggy, mixing it with your hand or with a big spoon to evenly moisten and mix in the turmeric.

Add mustard seeds, then onions to skillet, and stir-fry until the onions become tender and translucent. Add the chopped chiles and stir.

Pour in the moistened poha and continue to stir. Add the salt, red chile, and a few dashes of lime juice. Stir until it's heated through; taste and adjust seasonings. Add cilantro. Serve hot with sugar if you like--I like sugar, but V doesn't.


linzi said...

oh... I love Poha... I should make that sometime!

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

upma is also good.

D. Jain said...

Yes, we love upma, but usually buy the boxed mix! I could make it from scratch but it's a bit complicated for a weekday breakfast.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

You can get the cracked wheat pre-toasted (quick cook) at the Indian grocery stores now. Before that I used quick cook cream of wheat, which worked fine, no matter what the haters say.

A lot of the recipes I've seen online make it much more porrigey than my parents/I do-basically we sautee the spices in oil first, add the grain, toast it a little further, throw in a ton of veggies and add the bare minimum of water after and throw lots of chopped coriander on top. It's only a PITA if we don't have bottled ginger/garlic hanging around.

Idli sambar is a big production (that I make the night before).

But honestly, my fave breakfast of the moment is a modified eggs benedict-poached eggs on crab hash and roasted potatoes with red pepper hollandaise. Total calorie bomb, though!

linzi said...

I also really like rawa idly... I never end up making South Indian dishes at home though since I need some sort of steaming apparatus and all that...

D. Jain said...

Yeah, I need a steamer thingie too. I have heard there are microwave ones for idlis. And I'd like the steamer for making dhoklas too...one of my didis makes killer dhoklas but I haven't been able to duplicate them because I don't have the tools.