Poha dishes are the desi versions of 2-minute noodles. The pre-cooked cereal comes in handy when we need to whip up something for a quick bite or when we have unexpected guests who are too hungry to wait till you cook a proper meal. Kanda-poha/aloo poha are the staple breakfast in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, not that it is not a favourite in many other states as well.
There are so many recipes for this versatile cereal and each different from the other, that we need not repeat a recipe for weeks. Being pre-cooked, it can be even eaten without cooking. However, dry roasting adds to the flavour.
Among the many dishes I make out of poha, the milagu aval (pepper-poha), is my favourite, not only because of its awesome taste, but because it is quick.. Even among the two-minute poha dishes, this is the fastest! If you have eaten this one, you would know what a wonderful dish it is. If you have not, you can do it right after reading it. No need to go looking for the ingredients. They are all in your masala dabba!
Ingredients for milagu aval: (2 servings)
• Thick poha (jada poha) 1 ½ teacup
• Mustard ½ tsp
• Urad dal ½ tsp
• Chana dal ½ tsp
• Pepper 1 tsp
• Jeera 1 tsp
• Red chilly 1 (broken into 2-3 pieces)
• Hing A pinch
• Curry leaves 1 sprig
• Grated fresh coconut 2 tbsp
• Ghee 1 tbsp
• Salt to taste
• Wash and soak the poha till it becomes soft. Squeeze out the water and keep aside.
• Crush the pepper and jeera into a coarse powder. Don’t grind it.
• Heat the ghee in a kadhai. Add mustard, and when it crackles, add the urad and chana dals and the red chillies.
• When the dals turn golden brown, add the crushed pepper and jeera powder.
• Saute for a few seconds till you get the fine aroma of the fried pepper. Add the hing and curry leaves.
• Now add the poha, mix well. Sprinkle a tbsp of water, cover and cook for two minutes.
• Add the grated coconut, mix well and cook for another minute.
• Switch off the flame, remove to a serving bowl and serve hot. Add a dollop of ghee for that added fragrance.
• You can use oil for this dish, but ghee brings out the flavour of the pepper and jeera the best.
• You can increase the quantity of pepper if you like it hot. Actually, it tastes divine when it is really hot – both in spice and in temperature!
• Don’t skip the coconut, as it enhances both flavour and taste.