Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Poha/ Spiced Flattened Rice

Somehow I always thought that I had the recipe of 'Poha' on here. Afterall it is a staple in my kitchen. Made almost every alternate day for breakfast or as a light evening snack, this very popular Indian street food has kept me company for as long as I remember. 

Poha or flattened rice is commonly available in India but if you can't get it, I've also used left-over rice to make the same recipe for the same delicious results! 

There was a time I remember very clearly, I was in my 5th grade, I used to ask mom to make it everyday for school lunch. She used to make it a little differently then. Added in veggies or sauteed potatoes in the mix to make it healthier. I mean imagine! Trying to trick her kids into eating something healthy. Little did she know that I used to separate all the veggies and share that with my friends and eat away all the fluffy light yumm poha. But shhh... don't tell her this! 

Anyway, this is my favourite way of making poha. Perfectly spiced and well balanced with a little bit of sweet and tangy flavours. This is exactly how they serve it on the roadside. Infact many of my grey cold winter mornings begin with a steaming hot cup of tea and a bowlful of this brightly hued poha. Lets see how its done then, shall we?! 

Serves: 2

Time taken: 15 mins

Complexity: **

You'll need

2 cups of poha (rinsed and kept in colander to allow excess water to drain)
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
5-6 curry leaves
5-7 peanuts
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 green chili, thinly sliced
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp dry coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
salt to taste
1 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp peanut oil
Pinch of love

To garnish

fresh coriander leaves
pomegranate seeds
sev (fried spicy chickpea noodles)
finely chopped onion
finely diced tomatoes


Begin by rinsing the poha. The poha is dry in texture and needs to be rehydrated. I just place it in the colander and place it under running water for a minute till all the flakes are a little wet. Allow the poha to be in the colander till the end so the excess water drains out

Now in a deep skillet, I took some peanut oil on medium high heat. I then added the black mustard seeds till they began to splutter

As soon as they start to splutter, I added in the peanuts. You can either coarsely grind them or add them whole. 

Next goes the fennel seeds

And the asafoetida

And the curry leaves. Ohhh my... do you smell all the delicious flavours in there?! There's more to come. 

Add in the thinly sliced green chili

In goes the salt

The turmeric, coriander powder and the red chili powder. Mix it all well so the spices don't burn. If required, you can reduce the heat to medium low

Next add in the powdered sugar. Mix and then add the hydrated poha that's been resting. Then give everything a good toss so the poha is mixed well with all the spices. 

Squeeze the lemon juice over the poha and toss it again carefully. Now give it a taste test to adjust the seasoning. If you find that your poha hasn't entirely softened, you can add a couple tbsp of water and cover the pan with a lid to cook for a couple of minutes. The steam will soften the poha and its done!! 

How easy was that! Now to garnish in the typical street food style, Spoon some poha in your bowl. Top it up with the suggested garnishes. You can also grate some carrot or beetroot over it to make it notch healthier. Pretty, healthy and light! My beautiful bowl of sunshine! 


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Diwali 2015

Wishing all you lovely people, my dear readers, my friends and family A Very Happy Diwali and a Happy New Year. 

No no, don't worry, its not January '16 yet. 

I haven't been time travelling (as much as I wish to) nor have I lost track of time. 

Let me explain. In Gujarat, India, the people follow the old traditional calendar known as the Vikram Samvat. According to the calendar we just started with our 2072 year. So there are 3 primary new years that I get to celebrate each year - the Baisakhi or the Sikh New year, the Gujarati New year and the good ol' 31st Dec new year. Plus there are others as well which I won't get into details as of now.

More chances of fresh beginnings, more chances for making new resolutions, more chances for me to decide going to the gym (and dropping it the next day ofcourse) and last but not the least, more celebrations! 

A week prior to Diwali was crazy hectic like I presume it must be during Christmas time outside India. Lady luck was kind to me around this time. I was featured in a national magazine as the Top Food Blogger of the state. They were kind enough to publish my Diwali Special recipe too. Check out the recipe here! Here's a glimpse of the article 

Following that I had a couple of radio interviews where I shared some of my recipes. 

And then I was invited as a judge for a Rangoli competition at the biggest clubs in the city. (Does this sound like I'm tooting my own horn? Cause I totally am!) 

Diwali is a time that I like to follow indulging in my own little traditions. I like to be involved in DIY projects that make each Diwali special. Everyone is in the holiday mood. Work takes a back seat and so does going in the kitchen and cooking. Quite reasonably so since majority of the time is spent out shopping and chilling out with family and friends and dining out. 

Which brings me to notify you that this post is not going to be food related. I wanted to share the joyous occasion of Diwali with all of you. 

I took tons of pics, one of my aunt's was visiting us after a gap of over 3 years so it made our diwali all the more special. I don't prefer bursting crackers on Diwali but after about a gap of 13-15 years, we lit a few crackers. So it was a proper diwali with family, loads of good food, tons of sweets, oodles of weight gain, fun and traditions. 

I did sorely miss my grandpa who left us all in 2013. I thought of him and I could almost hear his voice during the paath(prayers).  

If you're wondering what I did as my DIY, here's a glimpse. 

I painted my own Diyas or earthen lamps. I do this every year. 

I then went on to make my own lanterns by recycling old glass jars- this took me some time since the drying process takes pretty long. 

They sure look pretty, don't they?! I couldn't take my eyes off of them! 

I couldn't get my eyes off of them when I was done and they were lit. 

The day before Diwali, I put mehendi on my hand. Its a tradition I follow since I was a kid. This was the only time mom would allow me to put mehendi/ henna since it was festival time. 

On the day of Diwali, after waking up at 5 in the morning- which a mean task especially if you've slept at 3 the previous night, I made this Rangoli. A rangoli is a design made with coloured sand. It beautifies the entrance of a house and it is believed to invite good luck. As always I favoured a peacock themed rangoli. 

Then was the Puja ki thaali, 

More diyas 

And some more, cause one can't brighten up the house enough! The little flickering lights and the decorative flower pots transport me to an era forgotten when everything was so simple, when a festival would be grand if you had the light of a lamp illuminating the house and a few flowers strewn around to make the air fragrant. 

Then there were a few bright sparkling crackers

And some more

As I oscillate between consumerism during the festivities and the old traditions, the only words echoing in my head on this festival are, if you light the path for others, you light up the path for yourself too. Shine bright my Happy people! Wishing you a splendid holiday season and loads of love and luck. Keep spreading the joy!