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Poha | Batata Kanda Poha

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The sound of sizzling mustard seeds and crackling curry leaves as their aroma fills the air takes me back to when my mother would wake me up with a warm bowl of poha. Poha is one of those classic Indian comfort foods. So classic it has been enjoyed throughout India for over 2,000 years.

About this Recipe

Poha is a dish I’ll go long periods without making, only to return to it like a long-lost friend and begin to wonder how we stayed apart so long.

Bowl of red rice poha

I ate a lot of poha as a child, whether it was at my boarding school, a neighbor’s house, or prepped at home by my mother or myself. There were two styles I am most familiar with. The Maharashtrian kanda poha, loaded with caramelized onion, and the Gujarati batata poha, which relies more heavily on potatoes. 

I’ve been making poha since I was about ten years old. I perfected a recipe that suits my taste buds. Making your perfect bowl of poha is about creating the flavor combos that work for and appeal to you. 

The recipe I like keeps it simple without boiling the potato separately. I cook my potato first and add the poha in the same pan, so I don’t have to hassle with more dishes and microwaving the potato first.

Spooning out some poha from a bowl.

I like the flavor that curry leaf adds to poha. And the way caramelized onions work together in the dish.

A traditional Gujarati version would have sugar added, which I dislike. It also has more potatoes than the Maharashtrian version. Mine uses a lot of onion but also a good amount of potato, so it is a combination of the two styles.

The sprinkle of lemon juice at the end is very important and brightens everything up.

Ingredients

Ingredients of poha
Ingredients: poha, curry leaves, potatoes, lemon, cilantro, oil, salt, turmeric, mustard seeds, black pepper, chili powder, asafoetida, and cumin seeds,

Poha – poha is rice that has been parboiled, pressed, and then dried out again. This makes it flat but fluffy, and it cooks fast. There are different kinds of poha. For this dish, make sure to use thick poha. A thin poha will become mushy. Poha is most commonly made with white poha. Here I make it with red poha, which is more nutritious because it is less processed and has more fiber and nutrients intact. White poha does not require a second rinse to soften.

Potato – Gujarati style batata poha is heavier on the potato

Onion – Maharashtrian kanda poha is heavier on caramelized onion.

Mustard seeds

Curry leaf – characteristic aromatic

Chili

Chili powder

Variations

Close up of a spoonful of poha.
  • Add salt and turmeric to the poha first. Since turmeric is fat soluble, I like to add turmeric directly to oil. Getting the health benefits out of it is more important than getting a good distribution, so I prefer to add it to the vaghar.

Gujarati Style:

  • Add a teaspoon of sugar
  • Less onion or leave it out (many Gujaratis do not eat onion)
  • Use only mustard, no cumin

Maharashtrian Style

  • Less potato
  • More onion
  • Add toasted peanuts
  • Use cumin and mustard

Serving Poha

Poha is typically served as a breakfast or warm snack dish. This was a frequent after-school snack or breakfast dish in my home growing up. Poha is great served with a cup of cha.

Refrigeration

  • Refrigerates well for up to 3 days but will dry out. Remoisten by adding a couple of tablespoons of water. Can be microwaved with the lid on or heated in a pan with the lid on to steam or heat.
  • Can be frozen for up to 3 months and defrosted in the microwave or stovetop with a splash of water. Good for meal prep.
Full bowl of poha.

Recipe

Bowl of red rice poha

Poha | Batata Kanda Poha

Puja
My version of poha blends the Maharashtrian kanda poha with the Gujarati batata poha to make a dish that is the best of both worlds.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 925 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups thick poha thick
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 medium potato cubed small
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1 green chili chopped
  • ½ heaping tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro a small handful
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 pinch hing optional

Instructions
 

  • Place the poha in a colander or large sieve. Run under water and rinse. Set the poha aside. If using red rice poha, let it sit for 5 minutes, then rinse again.
  • Dice the potatoes, onions, and chili.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet. When hot, add mustard seeds. Let them pop for a few seconds. Add cumin seeds and let those toast for a few seconds. Then add curry leaves and let those sizzle in the oil.
  • Add the turmeric powder, potatoes, 2 tablespoons of water, and a pinch of salt. Cover and let cook for 6 minutes. Then add onion and cook until softened.
  • Add poha, salt, black pepper, and red chili powder. Stir until all off the spices are evenly distributed. Add lemon juice and cilantro. Give it a quick stir and serve.

Video

Notes

Make sure to use thick poha for this recipe. You can use red or white. Red poha requires a second rinse (as described above), or it may not soften enough.

Nutrition

Calories: 925kcalCarbohydrates: 175gProtein: 17gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.1gSodium: 682mgPotassium: 795mgFiber: 7gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 417IUVitamin C: 131mgCalcium: 117mgIron: 3mg
Keyword batata poha, kanda poha, poha
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2 comments

  1. 5 stars
    I am a fan of your blog, I recently discovered your blog and I am loving cooking Indian at home. This Batata Kanda Poha another hit!

  2. 5 stars
    This is so delicious! You got me hooked with your long pepper chicken, and I had to try this, though I didn’t have any poha so I used basmati rice – need to make a stop at our Asian market to stock up!

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