Poha: Spiced Flattened Rice | Healthy Indian Vegetarian Breakfast Idea

I rarely wake up early enough to cook breakfast.  So it is mostly milk and cereals for Alok and chocolate milk or Ginger-Cardamom Chai with biscuits for me.  But some day if he gets lucky, he gets a breakfast  may be poha, upma, or pancakes, or stuffed paratha.  I wonder when I would get lucky to eat breakfast prepared by him.  Never, perhaps.  But while I keep my hopes high, allow me to share this poha recipe with you. 
spusht | vegetarian breakfast poha
healthy indian vegetarian breakfast poha
First, to avoid some confusions  flattened or beaten rice in its raw form is called poha, and this dish (let's call is spiced flattened rice) even after cooking is called poha.  Second, poha can be eaten for breakfast (which several Indians mostly do), or poha can be served as a snack with tea in the afternoons (which is generally done when guests are over).  Third, there is thin poha and a thick poha - always use the THICK poha to make this dish, because if you use thin poha it will get all mashed up.  Fourth, here is the recipe:
spusht | poha spiced flattened rice breakfast or snack
poha : spiced flattened rice as breakfast or snack
Recipe for Poha (breakfast or snack)
serves 4

What you need to cook poha:
1 cup flattened/beaten rice (raw poha)
½ Tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
6-8 curry leaves
½ Tbsp chopped green chilies
½ cup chopped potatoes
½ cup chopped onion
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¾ tsp salt + ¼ tsp sugar
½ cup roasted peanuts
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
½ Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Options to serve poha with…
Finely chopped deseeded tomatoes
Finely chopped onion
Bikaner Sev / Bhujia


Prep: Rinse the raw poha flakes under water couple of times and leave in a colander for excess water to drain out and for the dry flakes to turn into soft rice-like texture.  Meanwhile, peel and chop the green chilies, potatoes and onions into small pieces.  If you want to serve with tomatoes and onions, chop them finely and keep aside.

spusht | how to make poha
how to make poha
1. Heat oil in a medium pan on medium heat.  When hot, add mustard seeds.  Cover the pan and let the mustard seeds splutter.  Add curry leaves and chopped green chilies.  Add chopped potato and onion, sprinkle a little salt so they cook faster, and cover the pan, stirring occasionally.
Note: If you are using boiled potatoes, then you need to add them after sautéing onion.  Since I am using raw potatoes, I will let them cook along with onion and covered so potatoes soften in their steam.

2. Once the potatoes are tender, the onions golden-brown, add the turmeric powder, salt and sugar and mix it well with the veggies.  Fluff the poha with a fork and add to the pan, mixing it well but not over mixing or mashing the poha.  It takes less than a minute for poha to cook.  Cooking it longer will make it dry as it cools down.

3. Add roasted peanuts, chopped cilantro, and lemon juice.  Give it a quick mix and take it off the stove.  Covering the pan to let the poha soften and cook in its steam while absorbing the flavors makes it taste better.  You could skip peanuts and potatoes in the poha if you wish, but that's no fun.
spusht | pohe with potato and onion
pohe with potato and onion
Serve warm poha garnished with your choice of tomato and/or onion (or skip it).  Definitely try poha with bhujia – I especially LOVE the added spiciness and crunch of bhujia with the soft poha.  And a dollop of plain curd/yogurt with poha – optional, but this is how I like to have it. 
Spusht | Indian Breakfast Poha Recipe
Indian Breakfast Poha Recipe
Poha is quick to make, therefore good option for quick snacking.  Poha is filling because of the potatoes and peanuts, therefore just sufficient on its own and needs no accompaniment.  Poha requires no prior preparations, therefore ideal for breakfast.  And all these reasons make poha ideal for lazy people like me, ha!

What do you make for breakfast?
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