Pohe or pounded rice is a popular breakfast or snack dish in Maharashtra and Gujarat. The rice is par boiled while still in the husk and pounded afterwards to flatten it. This then becomes a kind of instant rice that can be cooked very quickly. In fact it can even be eaten without cooking by adding water. Luckily we dont have to process food in this way any more as readymade pohe are available in most Indian shops. Every family has their own recipe and there are several ways of cooking the dish. There are variants on the types of vegetables added and the spices used in the tempering.
This is my mother’s recipe for tomato pohe. A common problem with pohe is that they can easily become soggy if the quantity of water added is not right. My mother got round this problem by mixing the dried pohe with chopped tomatoes and not adding any water at all. The result is nice and fluffy pohe that are not stuck in clumps.
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 20 min
You will need:
- 4 cups of dried poha (medium)
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes or 200g ripe tomatoes chopped
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 hot green chillies
- 1/2 tsp asafoetida
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 small bunch of green coriander, chopped
Place the poha and chopped tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add half a teaspoon of salt and mix in properly with your hand into the poha. The poha should be coated in tomato juice. Heat the oil in a wok or karahi. When very hot (but not smoking) add the mustard seeds. These should start to crackle immediately. If they dont then the oil is not hot enough and you need to wait before adding the cumin. If they do crackle immediately, add the cumin and this should crackle too. As both seeds rise to the surface, add the green chillies and stir around for a second. Lower the heat and add the asafoetida, stir and add the turmeric. Stir this and immediately add the soaked poha mix. Increase the heat to high again and start stirring the poha around in the wok with a lifting movement so that it does not stick on the bottom. Keep stirring until you see steam rising from the dish. If the dish is looking too dry then sprinkle a handful of water on it while stirring. After about 5 minutes of stirring on high heat, add the chopped coriander. Taste it and adjust the level of salt before serving. Serve on its own or with pickle and yoghurt.