Thursday, February 10, 2011

Poha (aval upma)

Long before the very-similar-to-make Sabudana kichdi joined the list of quick-meals, poha was already a permanent member. I had never heard of poha till I went to grad school where a whole bunch of Maharashtrian friends swore by it. Seeing how easy it was to make and how satisfying the end result was, I was hooked. Poha has got me through many days of "I don't want to spend much time cooking but I want to eat a nice, hot meal".
A spoonful of poha

Ingredients (enough for two):
Poha (aval) - 1 cup
Onion - 1, medium-sized, chopped
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Red chilis - 3, broken
Roasted peanuts - 1/4 cup, de-skinned and broken into halves
Jeera - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 2 tsp (or to taste)
Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp, chopped
Oil - 1.5 tsp

1. Soak the poha by placing poha in a dish and pouring enough water to cover. Poha absorbs water pretty well and pretty fast so you will probably need a little more water beyond just covering the poha.
2. Place a pan on the stove on medium heat and add the red chillies and the jeera.
3. When jeera begins to crackle, add the onions and stir fry till the onions turn lightly golden.
4. Add the turmeric, salt and peanuts and continue stirring till the raw smell of turmeric disappears. Onions should only be lightly cooked, not roasted to a brown color.
5. Add the soaked poha (it should be soft but there should not be excess water) and gently stir till it is well mixed with the onion-peanut mixture.
6. Continue cooking on medium heat till the poha is heated through (about 4-5 minutes).
7. Turn off heat and add lime juice. Stir/toss, so that the juice spreads evenly.
8. Top with coriander leaves and serve hot.

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