Poha or Sauteed pressed rice with potatoes is a very popular breakfast dish in India. Pressed rice or beaten rice is easily available in all Indian stores. It can be easily stored up 3-5 months in airtight containers.
The preparation of beaten rice is very easy. All you need to do is rinse it well in cold water. please use a sieve. During the rinsing process, the flat beaten rice soaks the water giving it a crumbly texture. Though it will look a little wet in the beginning, it should be able to soak the water and the excess will be drained out.
My recipe uses more onion as it gives moisture to the pressed rice and the potatoes. May be I am a little partial to curry leaves as I love them but the addition of curry leaves is essential as it gives an authentic flavor and aroma.
I usually make this in advance for breakfast and also store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Some people like their poha sweet and some like it tart. I like it somewhere in between – there should be a good balance between the tart, sweet and the heat from the chilies. Also, the addition of peanuts gives it a very good crunch. The tradition recipe doesn't use cashews; it’s just that I am overly fond of cashews that are fried until they are golden brown. So if you don’t like cashews, you can skip it.
For the Poha:
1 cup onions sliced
3 cups pressed rice
1 cup boiled potatoes diced
1 tsp mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves
½ tsp Whole cumin
2-3 green chilies chopped
Handful of salted peanuts
Handful of raw cashews
2-3 tbsp oil
A Pinch of turmeric
Salt, Sugar and lemon juice to taste
The first job is to wash the pressed rice thoroughly. Use cold water to wash this. You will see that the pressed rice is very delicate and with this thorough wash it is ready to be eaten. It should look crumbly and not stiff. Keep aside.
Heat a wok with the oil and chuck in the mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves and chilies. Cover the wok and let the mustard seeds pop in the hot scorching oil. Once the popping stops add the onions and sprinkle some salt on it. Give it a good stir and cover so that the onions stew in its own steam. We are not going to brown the onions but we are merely going to cook the onions until almost cooked. Chuck in the cashews and boiled potatoes and sprinkle the pinch of turmeric. Stir this on high heat as we want to cook off the powder-iness of the turmeric. Add the salt and sugar to the potatoes and mix thoroughly before adding the washed pressed rice to it. Again give it a good mix and give it a squeeze of lemon. Sprinkle the salted peanuts on top.
Serve hot with a cup of tea or coffee. .!