Pohe are basically de-husked rice which are then lightly flattened and pressed into flakes. In English, pohe are sometimes referred to as flattened rice or beaten rice. These flattened rice flakes are available in a variety of sizes ranging from paper thin flakes to extra thick flakes depending upon the particular recipe. This form of rice can be used to make both snacks and light meals. In Maharashtra, pohe are reconstituted with water and then stir fried to make a dish by the same name. Pohe are readily available in any Indian grocery store.
As a Maharashtrian, I grew up eating pohe. Traditionally my mother used to make this dish for Sunday brunch, but I think pohe can be eaten any time of the day. It is a simple and delicious recipe and for me, a definite childhood favorite.
POHE (Savory Maharashtrian Flattened Rice Flakes)
2 cups pohe (thick variety)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2-3 small green Thai chilies, slit of half lengthwise
˝” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 small potato, peeled and cut into thin pieces
˝ cup of peas (frozen are fine)
4-5 fresh curry leaves
˝ tsp mustard seeds
˝ tsp turmeric
pinch of asafetida (hing), optional
salt, to taste
juice of ˝ lime
1-2 tbsp oil, vegetable or canola
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
freshly grated coconut for garnish (optional)
extra lime wedges
Place the pohe in a small holed colander or fine meshed sieve. Run the colander under cold water for just a few seconds, almost like a quick rinse. Set the entire colander aside and let it drain well. The pohe should have absorbed the water and appear “plumped” but they should not be soggy.
In a deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, carefully add the mustard seeds. When the splattering has stopped, add the asafetida along with the chilies and curry leaves. Next add the onions and stir fry for a few minutes. When the onions are just slightly browned, add the turmeric. Stir and add the potatoes. Let cook for 4-5 minutes until the potatoes have just softened. Add the peas and stir. Next, start adding the pohe in batches making sure there are no large clumps. The pohe should be separate grains of plumped rice flakes.
Mix well to combine the pohe with all of the other ingredients. Now add the salt and lime juice. Stir, cover, reduce the heat to low and let cook for 5-6 minutes until all the flavors have combined. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves, freshly grated coconut and lime wedges. Serve with yogurt, Indian pickles and Indian snacks like sev or chewda.
Feel free to add your favorite vegetables (corn or carrots work well) to this dish. You can also add some unsalted and toasted peanuts along with the potatoes.
To make Tomato Pohe, simply add about ˝ cup or of tomato puree just before adding the salt & lime juice.
To make Kothimbir che Pohe (Cilantro Pohe), simply add about ˝ cup or of pureed cilantro leaves just before adding the salt & lime juice.
Brown poha, made from brown rice, is also available.