Be it marathwada or marwar, Poha or pohe has been the breakfast of choice since one can remember. The spill over or rather adoption of the dish by other parts of the country is purely because it is an easy way out to get some essential carbs and vegetables into our system, packed with taste. In Pune, we have had a few versions of it. Be it the dadpe pohe at Poona Guest House, or the 4 am pohe fix at Amruteshwar.
But I think, for decades although pohe has been quite a staple, it hasn’t received its due in terms of the versatility of the core product. Too many heavy food book terms? Let me decode it. Most times we have had kande pohe in all its deliciousness, which is a very simple preparation; sometimes, doused with a generous sprinkling of sev, at others with some dahi or a chutney of sorts, or maybe even a chiwda.
But, other than that we have never really taken this dish to another level of a new age food variation. It is time to give this simple product the much needed makeover. A makeover, that will make the foodies look at this versatile dish under a new light, a simple yet multi-talented, treasure of a dish (just giving it a little elevated human touch…).
Poha has this no hassle, no “chefy” manoeuvres kind of simplicity that we all adore and embrace. So how about giving our down to earth ingredient an attractive makeover.
The makeover tips are here for you to savour:
The quickest and yet a very delectable biryani. Two onions and tomatoes finely chopped, and a tablespoon of ginger garlic paste. Saute them well in oil till the onions have turned a light brown and the tomatoes have evaporated the water content. Add some whole cloves, black pepper, tej patta and one badi elaichi. Saute until you smell the spices. Now add partially boiled, shredded chicken (if vegetarian, add soya chunks soaked in hot water for 20 mins).
Add a few beans and a handful of peas and some finely cubed carrots. Add Biryani masala, a hint of garam masala and a dash of water. Cook until you see the oil in the corners of the cooking vessel. Add poha that has been washed and kept aside for about 10 mins. Add some haldi, chilli powder and a sprinkling of finely chopped pudina and coriander leaves. Stir well, cover and cook on a low flame for 7 to 10 minutes. We’re done! A simple yet hearty and filling biryani. Serve with beaten curd or raita.
Soak poha for 20 mins, drain and then blitz it so as not to lose the grainy texture. Add finely chopped onions, tomatoes (without the seeds), jeera powder, one boiled potato, finely chopped coriander leaves, jeera powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Add the yolk of one egg and mix, mix, mix. Now, make the mixture into burger sized patties and shallow fry them.
Now comes the construction! Burger bun, cut into half and toasted. Add mayo to one side of the bun and mirchi techa to the other. Place thin slices of onion and tomato and lettuce on the bottom half. Season with salt and pepper. Place the patty, add a generous portion of grated cheese (of your choice); close the burger with the top half. Press gently, secure with a toothpick and serve. Trust me, people will love you for this.
Maida is not always the flour of choice and wheat flour tends to make the pancakes slightly hard. But here’s an easy and healthy alternative. Soak poha for about 30 mins. Drain the water and grind in the mixer to a fine paste. Add water if necessary to make a dosa batter like consistency. Add two eggs and blend away again. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar, salt to taste and a dollop of melted butter. Blend again. Now in a flat non-stick tawa, add some butter, let it melt and add a big ladle of the poha mixture. Cover and cook on a low flame till the bottom is golden brown. Flip and repeat the same process for the other side. Serve with shards of butter and maple syrup or honey.
Poha and Vegetable Soup
Poha, soup? Something different na? Try it and you will never regret it. Cut and boil two tomatoes with one cup of poha. Boil it for three whistles. Now put a thick bottomed pan on high heat with one tablespoon of olive oil. Add one chopped onion, two chopped spring onions and add the tomato and poha liquid. Add a seasoning of salt, pepper and chilli powder. Add a dash of cream, stir and serve with croutons. Yummy yum yum!
This one is a delicious treat to all senses sweet. In a deep pan, add two tbsp ghee. Once melted and hot, add ground cardamom and cinnamon. Sauté for a bit. Add a cup of poha and some pieces of pineapple. Add a hint of salt. Stir. Now add one cup of coconut milk and one half of condensed milk. And a half cup of milk. Add one big spoon of crushed cashews and almonds. If you don’t think it’s sweet enough for your liking, add sugar to taste. Let it boil on a low flame for 20-25 minutes, stirring from time to time, till it becomes slightly thickish. Serve with a sprinkling of saffron strands and grated pistachio.
So here you go, the simple ingredient truly elevated and available! Could it get any better? I think not! Savour and sample.