Friday, May 11, 2012

Poha - A vehicle for spices and fiber

Poha is flattened rice.  You can purchase it at most Indian food stores.  I buy the Poha that is labeled "Thick".  While there are some short comings to Poha, such as it's lack of fiber, there are some wonderful benefits to this food.  It is quick to prepare, affordable, and versatile. 

On days when I am between grocery store trips, or in a hurry, I can make a quick meal of poha, spices, nuts and seeds.  Here is a sample single serving recipe for you to try.  All of the ingredients can be purchased at most local Indian food stores.  I find that these stores often have wonderful prices on the spices used here.

This quick dish uses the poha as the vehicle to carry the wonderful fiber, omega 3, and macro/micro nutrients delivered by the ingredients and spices in our recipe below.  I have to thank a dear friend (another Laura) who has been so kind as to teach me some wonderful recipes from India as well as methods for using Indian spices in cooking.  I hope you will enjoy this quick dish as much as I do!

  • 1/4 - 1/2 Cup poha flakes - thick
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp coconut oil - unrefined
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/4 tsp corriander seed
  • salt to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon milled flaxseed
  • 1 Tablespoon ground walnuts
  • 1 Tablespoon shredded coconut
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoons dried fruit (cherries pictured)
Warm oil over medium heat.  Add mustard seeds.  They will warm and begin to toast or pop.  When they reach this state, which may only be a few minutes, remove your pan from heat.  You do not want to burn your oil or your spices.  Your pan will retain heat, so add your corriander seeds and sautee.  These will toast very quickly in your hot pan.  Next add your poha and mix.  Add the coconut flakes chili pepper and fruit.  Place pan back on stove on low heat, if needed, to warm the fruit, pepper and coconut.  If you like some heat in your dish, break your chili pepper open and let the seeds mix in a bit.
Once these are warmed and mixed in, remove from heat.  Add additional walnuts, flaxseed, salt to taste.  Remove the pods of the chili pepper and enjoy!

Note: For me, learning how to toast the spices without burning them was a bit of a challenge. If you have an underlying bitter taste, odds are you have burnt your spices, so try to error on the side of caution and keep your heat at Medium or low.

There are countless variations of spices and herbs you can use here.  Another great route would be to use fresh lime and cilantro with peppers and almonds.  Consider adding in some shredded kale and carrot early in the process.  Let it wilt and mix into the dish to add nutrient value to your quick meal.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds delicious. I've been trying to eat more meatless meals and with my other intolerances that can get a bit boring. I may try this with cooked basmati rice and as suggested add in some kale, carrots and/or spinach.