I should probably create a special category for the recipes of the things that the girls like most and are happy to eat as often as I’ll make them, such as varan, upma, grilled salmon with pesto, any fish baked with a provencal marinade (made of oil, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs) etc.
And poha surely would be the first among those equals.
This is another dish that I learned to cook from my mother-in-law.
Indira, especially, loves it like she does nothing else. So today, when I wanted to persuade Indira to come home for lunch (Noor was going to eat with me anyway, because she has a bad cold and I wanted her to stay at home after lunch to have a nap) because I was worried she would not eat well in the school cantine due to an aching tooth and a mouth ulcer, I suggested that I could make poha. She was quick to agree after that !
With a very few modifications – such as the addition of ginger – the recipe that follows is faithful to Ma’s.
It is food that soothes the soul 🙂
Potato and Peas Poha
3 big handfuls of poha, washed under cold running water and left to drain in a colander for about 15-25 minutes
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced very fine (alternatively, you could use potatoes that have been boiled till soft)
2 medium sized onions, chopped very fine
1/2 to 3/4 cup of shelled, frozen peas
a handful of fresh green coriander, chopped fine
1/2 or 1 tsp of grated ginger
salt to taste
3/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of mustard seeds
5-6 curry leaves
In a large frying pan, heat 4-5 tablespoons of oil, then add the mustard seeds. When these start to crackle, add the curry leaves and fry these for a few seconds. Now add the potatoes, reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook the potatoes till they are a little more than half done.
Add the onions, and fry with the potatoes till they are very soft and translucent. Now add the grated ginger and peas, and cook for some more time till the peas appear cooked. Add the poha (after sprinkling a little water on it, and salt) and stir everything together. Cover the pan and leave to cook till the poha is quite soft, uncovering the pan periodically (you will need to do this 3-5 times before the poha is soft enough) to sprinkle a little water over the poha and turning it over well so that it cooks evenly.
Stir in the coriander, and eat it while it is still hot.
This is a basic poha, and tastes wonderful with some plain yoghurt and pickle. Different cooks make it and serve it in many other ways, such as adding other vegetables, serving it with a little sev, lime juice and/or sugar, etc.