Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Masala Poha (Spiced Beaten Rice Flakes With Veggies)

Pilaf-like Masala Poha is very similar to Aval/Poha Upma with Potatoes or Aloo/Bataata Poha; another tasty recipe utilizing aval/poha/rice flakes. Pretty colorful, quick and nutritious, it can be served at lunch, teatime, or dinner. Masala Poha can also be part of a party menu or potluck contribution as it is a great make-ahead recipe. I often make it for our weekend/holiday brunch. Thick aval/poha is best for making this dish (thin is a bit too brittle and crumbly but will work just the same if that's what's available - "bird" in hand and all that!).

Masala Poha (Spiced Rice Flakes with Veggies
With all the colorful and flavorful veggies, Masala Poha makes a filling and hearty fare. Other mild flavored veggies may be added/substituted according to the seasonal availability and your preference - about 2 cups total - not including onions and bell pepper.

Variation: If aval/poha is not available, use cooked rice instead of the soaked aval/poha. Cook 1 cup of rice according to package directions and cool completely before using; leftover plain cold rice will work well.

Essential Masala Poha ingredients 

Seasonings of mustard, dals, with onions, ginger, green chile

Seasoned onion mixture with cooked veggies

Soaked Aval/Poha with seasoned veggies

About 4 Servings


1 Cup dry Thick Aval/poha (Rice Flakes)
2 Tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard seeds
1 Tbsp Chana Dal
2 Tbsp Urad Dal
1 pinch Asafoetida
1 hot Green Chile (Thai or Serrano)
1 stem Fresh Curry Leaves
1 small Onion
1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, finely minced
1/2 cup finely chopped Bell Peppers/Capsicums (use all the colors)
Salt to taste
1 small Potato
1 small Sweet Potato
1 small Carrot
1/2 Cup Green Peas, fresh or frozen
1 tsp Garam Masala
Juice from 1 Lime/1/2 Lemon
4 Tbsp Cilantro/Coriander/Dhania Leaves
Roasted Cashews or Peanuts for serving
A few whole cilantro leaves for garnish


Place the aval in a bowl and add plenty of water; pour off all the 'floaters' - bits of husk. Drain well and add 1/2 cup of fresh water with 1/2 tsp of salt dissolved in it and let soak while you prepare the rest.

Wash all the fresh veggies well and drain.

Cut the potatoes and carrots into 1/4" cubes - about the size of peas; cook them until just tender using the microwave, pressure cooker or in a small pan. Set aside. (Alternately, they may also be cooked directly in the pan after cooking the onions.)

Cut the hot green chilies in half and remove the seeds and the whitish membranes with a teaspoon and discard if you want a mild dish; leave the core in if you like it spicy. Mince the chilies finely.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or seasoned kadai (Indian wok) and add the mustard seeds.

When the mustard seeds finish popping, add chana and urad dal; let the dals cook to a pinkish  golden color.

Immediately stir in asafetida, curry leaves, green chilies, ginger, and onions with a couple of pinches of salt and turmeric.

Cook stirring until onions are translucent. (Stir in carrots and potatoes at this time - if they are not precooked - with a little salt and cook until they are tender.)

Tip the capsicums/bell pepper into the onions mixture and cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the peas if using fresh, and cook for about a couple of minutes. If using frozen, stir them in and then the aval.

Add the soaked aval with the Garam Masla if using and stir gently but thoroughly to mix well.

Cover and cook over low heat until hot stirring occasionally, about 5 mipeasnutes.

Remove from heat and sprinkle with the lime juice and cilantro; mix well.

Top with the nuts and garnish with the whole cilantro leaves and serve hot, warm or at room temperature by itself or with your favorite chutneys, Indian pickles, or a raita.


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