Phova Chetni | Pova Chutney ~ Konkani Style Spiced Beaten Rice

One of the most common weekend breakfast options at our place is the beaten rice. Surprisingly I didn't eat much of it during my childhood as I am eating it today. A case of acquired tastes you could say. The reason I started making different kinds of beaten rice snacks at home was because Roshan is an ardent fan of the same and ever since our son tasted it he has become a huge fan. I am pretty pleased because I don't need to rely on boxed breakfasts anymore - cereals and such are usually loaded with tons of sugar to attract even the most unrelenting of palates. I am glad that our Mangalorean breakfasts are not shunned at my place as is the case with most children brought up in the Gulf. Seriously, there is nothing wrong with South Indian breakfasts if you know how to manage your food intake the rest of the day and combine it with a fitness regime that helps shed the extra calories. I know tons of people who have given up wholesome nutritious breakfasts because of two reasons - the lack of time to prepare them or the belief (based on the myth) that they are calorific and don't help one to stay in shape. Since I am no gyan guru or certified nutritionist I will let that argument be. Instead I would like to promote this simple ingredient - the beaten rice as the wonder ingredient that you can stock in your pantry.

Beaten rice (also called as flattened rice) is known to have a low GI (Glycemic Index) which in simple terms means that it doesn't let your blood sugar levels soar too high. Foods on the GI are scored on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how much they raise your blood sugar levels. If a food is having a low GI you need to try to eat more of those as compared to those foods that score higher on the GI group. Well, I got to know about the technical funda just today although I had a vague idea about the GI all this while. It's really good to know what foods can actually do you good and I strongly believe that if you lead an active life and have not been diagnosed and/or received medical advice to stay away from all rice based foods you must include this simple ingredient in your regular diet. 

In Mangalore, beaten rice has various names - 'avalakki' in Kannada, 'pou' in the Konkani spoken by Catholics, 'phovu' in the Konkani spoken by GSBs and 'bajil' in Tulu. Similarly it is prepared and eaten in a myriad ways. Sweetened with sugar or jaggery and garnished with coconut (Godaso Pou) or spiced up with green chillies, curry leaves and onions (Masala Pou or Theek Pou) - the combinations of ingredients are several but they all land up in a delicious concoction to make a frugal yet satisfying meal. Mostly eaten for breakfast or as a tea time snack, beaten rice is also tempered with spices, stored for a longer shelf life and eaten as a dry snack (Chuda/Chivda). 

This particular recipe was shared by my dear friend Sapna Shenoy when I visited her this July. As I completely love GSB cuisine and having grown up savouring their food, I looked forward to the spread that I was sure she would prepare. Sure enough, Sapna had a tea time banquet or high tea you could say, spread in my honour (ahem!) From beetroot cutlets to sheera and macaroons there was everything I couldn't refuse. The star attraction of them all was this wonderful phova chutney. Since my son is an ardent fan of beaten rice he piled his plate with a mountain of this lovely snack. That's the only thing he wanted to eat that day! Once I got back, over a few whatsapp chats the recipe was locked and a couple of tries later I was able to recreate the flavours of this simple and humble snack that I enjoyed so much at Sapna's place that day. 

This snack tastes absolutely delicious if you accidentally or intentionally spill some coffee into it :-) I am sure that many of you have eaten beaten rice like this. My son is a new addict to this unique way of enjoying beaten rice!

So thank you Sapna for this gem of a recipe - like I told you, this recipe had to be on the blog and it is now :-)

Phova Chetni | Pova Chutney

Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: Nil | Serves 2-3

For tempering:
1. In a large bowl add the grated coconut, sambhar powder, jaggery or sugar and salt to taste. Mix it well squeezing the coconut with your hand - this help activate the moisture and juiciness of the coconut. 
2. Add the chopped coconut if you are going to serve it immediately, otherwise add it along with the beaten rice and give it one good mix.
3. In a smaller pan heat the oil and add the mustard. When it stops spluttering add the curry leaves and fry them on a medium heat taking care not to burn them. Pour this seasoning into the coconut mixture.
4. When you are ready to serve add the beaten rice to the above mixture and give it a good mix - check sweetness and salt and adjust accordingly. 
5. Serve with tea or coffee

1. Most shops sell thicker version of flattened rice which is has short and thick flakes - this is used in the preparation of Maharashtrian style Poha (see recipe) and hence is not suitable. Ask for the one which is called as thin/pathla poha or even chivda poha may be used (chivda is a dry snack using beaten rice flakes, peanuts, raisins etc)
2. If you are using frozen grated coconut, microwave it for 20 seconds and bring it to room temperature.
3. For a Mangalorean touch try using a Mangalorean brand of sambhar powder or home made blend if possible.

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