Ingredient 21 – Poha

The bag looks empty because I’d already weighed out my poha when I remembered to take the picture.

I haven’t had this one for as long as some of my MoFo ingredients but it’s been there a while. I had certainly heard about dishes using poha, flattened rice, but just not got round to making them, and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten it, even in India.

Not too long before MoFo started, a new book called Prashad – Indian Vegetarian Cooking arrived. I was very excited to get this book, partly because I’ve made my love of Indian food clear, but also because we enjoyed a fabulous meal there several years ago just before it was runner up in Gordon Ramsay’s best restaurant competition.

I haven’t had the chance to cook anything yet, although I’ve had a good read of it and have lots marked that I want to try, so I was excited to try the Flattened Rice with Peanuts and Potato (Bataka Pauwa).

This was very easy to make. The book calls it a one pot meal but I roasted some spiced cauliflower to serve alongside it as an extra vegetable. You soak the poha very briefly and as soon as the water hits it it goes all mushy. Then as long as you’ve got your spices ready it comes together very quickly. Wow, what an amazing treat for a carb lover like me this is. The poha has a texture more like mashed potato, yet there are cubes of crisp potato in there too. Then you get the crunch from the red skinned peanuts and the lovely afterbite of the curry leaves. I will definitely be buying and using poha again.

Have you got a favourite use for poha?

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