Monday, June 15, 2015

Kandha Poha ( Beaten Rice Pilaf); Meatless Monday

Kandha poha is a popular breakfast dish from the konkan region of India. This is especially typical of Maharashtra State. "Kandha" is "onion"  and " poha" is beaten rice in  Marathi/konkani language. So the literal translation of "kandha poha" would be " onion beaten rice". Basically it is beaten rice that is sauteed with a seasoning that has sauteed onions, green chilli, turmeric powder and  cumin seeds. It is then garnished with fresh cilantro and lemon juice.

Variations of this dish include batat-phovu which  is more popular in South Canara region of Karnataka State. It is basically Kandha-poha with potato cubes added in addition to the onions while sautéing. While my husband loves potatoes, I stay away from it. I therefore make more of Kandha-poha than batat-Phovu. I add fresh green peas instead which makes my Kandha poha colorful and I would have eaten some vegetables too in the process. It is very flavorful with lime/ lemon juice squeezed on top and garnished with fresh cilantro. Do try it. I bet you will like it!

Servings: 2


Thick poha( beaten rice): 3 cups
Water: 3 cups
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp 
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Curry leaf:1 sprig
Cumin seeds ( jeera): 1 tsp
Onion: 1 medium, chopped fine
Green chillies: 2 medium sized, slit lengthwise.
Haldi ( turmeric powder): 1 tsp
Fresh Green peas: 1/4 cup ( cooked if using dry )
Salt: to taste
Sugar: a pinch
Lemon juice: from 1/2 small lemon
Cilantro: 1 tbsp, chopped


Soak the thick poha in water for 5 mins. Squeeze it thoroughly and keep it aside in a bowl. Ensure that you don't soak the poha for too long as it will get mushy and the whole dish becomes one big mess. The poha has to al- dente. Each grain should be separate from the next.

In a sauté pan/ kadai, heat oil.Add mustard seeds.

Once the mustard seeds crackle, add the curry leaves, jeera, chopped onions and green chillies. Sauté until the onion starts to sweat. Don't let it brown. It changes the appearance of the dish.

Add the turmeric powder, sauté for a few seconds.

Add the green peas, salt, sugar and let it cook until the green peas are tender. 

Now add the soaked poha and toss it all together.

Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.

Serve hot with a cup of tea or coffee.


Cooking made easy:

There are several types of poha. Nylon poha, thin poha and thick poha.Nylon poha is really thin and usually fried and used to prepare mixture ( a dry snack) . Thin poha is used to make dishes such as Godu Phovu( sweet poha), Phova chutney etc. These two varieties are not meant to be soaked in water. It softens upon massaging with the hand.Thick poha is what is used in recipes that calls for poha to be soaked. Any other type of poha if soaked will immediately turn into mush!! On the other hand, thick poha cannot be used without soaking or frying.

Tip for healthy living:

Try to add turmeric to most of your dishes either while sautéing vegetables or seasoning fish, meat and poultry.
Turmeric has several health benefits apart from having antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
There is established evidence that the use of turmeric can help reduce arthritis pain. All the health benefits of turmeric is due to the presence of compounds called curcuminoids, the most important being curcumin. Curcumin is purported to help lower the risk of heart disease ,diabetes and even cancer due to it's potent antioxidant properties.

Food for thought:

In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences. Robert Green Ingersoll