I was never a beaten rice person. When I was a child it was my brother who always insisted on beaten rice for breakfast at least once a week or ten days. The usual fare of making a sweet version (with jaggery and fresh coconut) or a savoury one (with green chillies and coconut) took turns to appear on our breakfast table. Somewhere after I left home and started to work beaten rice in all forms was forgotten. I never missed it either. However after I got married and moved to Mumbai I started experimenting with all kinds of Mangalorean breakfasts to entertain hubby and myself.
The first time I ate the Maharashtrian version of beaten rice (also called as poha in Marathi/Hindi) was in my office canteen. There was a time when I used to enjoy having my breakfasts there - this was during our initial years of marriage. My work was strenuous and I would end up reaching home pretty late in the evenings and if I managed to whip up a simple dinner it would be a blessing. There was no way I would bother myself to kill myself for an elaborate breakfast. Since the husband was not a breakfast person those days and a glass of fresh juice would suffice, I would usually gobble up a whole packet of instant noodles - Maggi Atta noodles was my favourite then. On other days if I had loads of work to catch up with I would reach the office early enough to grab a bite and trust me, the stuff tasted goooood!I always enjoyed the batata poha as it was simple, sustaining and tasty too as I loved spicy stuff in the morning. I never got tired of the poha or the steaming hot upma that we got. The joy of having fresh, piping hot breakfast on a hungry stomach and then washing it all down with hot coffee is something else!
Since the husband and son are partial towards the Mangalorean version of beaten rice I make this for my little daughter and myself. This recipe which I have tried over the years has been adapted from Tarla Dalal's book called 'Healthy Breakfasts'. Down South we use the thinner variety of beaten rice which is suitable for the versions we make (recipe links at the bottom of this post). Sometimes the 'chivda' variety may be used for Mangalorean style poha. For the Maharashtrian version the thicker version is used. The beaten rice flakes here are thicker, thinner and longer whereas thin poha tends to be flatter, thinner and slightly wide. They are not interchangeable as you cannot soak thin poha - you will get a mess on your hands. Most brands have the type of poha mentioned on the packet, so do take care to buy the right type.
Do check out my other beaten rice recipes
Batata Poha | Kandha Batata Poha (Maharashtrian Style Spiced Beaten Rice)
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins | Servings 2
To soak the poha:
For the tempering/masala:
- 2 cups thick beaten rice / poha / avalakki * see notes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 sprig (8-9 leaves) curry leaves
- 1 small green chilli minced (adjust to taste)
- 3/4th cup (1 medium) onion finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric/haldi
- 1/2 cup (1 small) potato, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 cup (approx) water
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
- 1-2 teaspoons lime juice
- extra sugar to taste (optional)
- 1/4 cup peanuts with skin (optional)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- salt to taste
1. In a wide bowl dissolve the sugar and salt in 1 cup of water (mentioned under 'For the poha'). Add the beaten rice and gently mix until all the flakes are wet. Do not squeeze out the water from the flakes, instead place the flakes on a colander to drain off the excess water. Keep aside.
2. In a wide heavy based or non stick wok/kadhai heat the oil for tempering and when hot add the mustard. When it stops spluttering add the cumin and let it sizzle.
3. Add the curry leaves and green chilli and stir lightly. Toss in the chopped onions and fry till they turn light golden. Add the turmeric powder.
4. Add the potatoes, approximately 1/2 cup water, salt to taste and cover the pan and cook until the potatoes are tender but firm (takes about 4-5 minutes depending on the size of the potato cubes). When the potatoes are cooking, prepare the ground nuts/peanuts by frying them in a little oil in another pan for approx half a minute. Remove and keep aside.
5. When the potatoes are tender, remove the pan from the heat, mix in the drained beaten rice flakes and mix well. Sprinkle the lime juice. Do a quick taste check. If should have a fine balance of spice-sweet-salty-sour. Adjust the sugar/salt/lime.
6. Garnish with fried peanuts and chopped coriander and serve with a wedge of lime.
Down South we use the thinner variety of beaten rice which is suitable for the versions we make (recipe links at the bottom of this post). Sometimes the 'chivda' variety may be used for Mangalorean style poha. For the Maharashtrian version the thicker version is used. The beaten rice flakes here are thicker, thinner and longer whereas thin poha tends to be flatter, thinner and slightly wide. They are not interchangeable as you cannot soak thin poha - you will get a mess on your hands. Most brands have the type of poha mentioned on the packet, so do take care to buy the right type.