Poha is a traditional South Indian breakfast made with minimal ingredients. The ayurvedic turmeric gives it a beautiful golden color while the warmed cumin adds a depth of flavor.
While Poha goes by a variety of names in South India (Pohay, Chuda Santula, Kande Pohey, Avalakki, etc), the ingredients and flavor profile tend to be the same across the board. In it’s essence, Poha is a spicy rice dish with peanuts that is best served with a piping hot cup of masala chai (mmmm…).
This dish takes me back to my Aunt’s home in Davengere, Karnataka. She is an incredible cook who loves to feed everyone around her. This was one of my favorite dishes to eat around an evening snack-time (although traditionally eaten during breakfast). Today, this dish is something I serve to my friends during a weekend brunch, just so they can experience some of my favorite foods growing up 🙂
Without further adieu, let’s get started!
Please note: These items can all be found in your local Asian-Indian grocery store
- Poha ( Puffed Rice – this one is my favorite) : about 4 cups
- Thai green chillies or serranos ( depending on your spice level, I use 4-5 green TC, use less for serranos) : Roughly chopped
- Dry, Unsalted Peanuts: 1/4 cup
- Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
- Onion: 1/2 fine diced
- Hing (asofetida) : 1/2 tsp
- Turmeric: 1 tsp
- Curry Leaves: ~10 leaves torn
- Squirt of lemon juice (optional)
- Aloo bujia (optional)
To get started:
- Start by soaking the poha in a colander with cold water. This helps the texture of the dish go from crunchy to a chewy consistency.
- In a shallow pan, warm up roughly two tablespoons of ghee. (Any form of oil you have on hand can be used, but ghee makes a difference in flavor)
- In low heat, start by tempering the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they start popping, add in your chilies, curry leaves and saute for a couple of mins.
- Next, change the heat setting to medium-high, and add in the peanuts. The trick here is to roast the peanuts without burning them, so watch carefully.
- Now, add in your onions, turmeric and hing. Reduce heat to medium and let cook for 4 – 5 mins until golden brown.
- Salt your drained poha (to taste) and add in to the mixture. Turn off stove. Top of with lemon juice and combine.
- Enjoy! I love to serve this dish with aloo bujia. This crispy potato snack makes a huge difference so highly recommend!