Let me introduce you to the most wonderful breakfast/brunch/lunch in the whole entire world. Well, almost. Not counting ice cream. Ice cream IS a breakfast item, right?
Poha (pronounced: puhwa) are cooked, flattened and dehydrated grains of basmati rice. You can find them in most Indian grocery stores packed in regular plastic bags. The bateta part is cubed, deep fried potatoes, but you probably worked that one out already; bateta-potato-bateta-potato-bateta-potato. They do sound similar.
The ingredients in this dish vary from region to region and family to family. I’m making a classic Gujarati version, which of course must be like all Gujarati dishes are: hot, sweet and sour. This dish is very forgiving, so if you want to omit certain ingredients like onions or not add too much chilli then that’s totally up to you. At home we add plenty of peanuts and cashews to bulk the dish up for a more filling meal. If you’re ever stuck for making something for a large amount of people then this is the perfect recipe. You can make a huge amount in one go and feed an army of hungry people.
Bateta poha is great with plain yogurt and a cup of chai, but if you’re feeling a bit fruity then try out a variation with some pomegranate seeds and/or soaked sultanas.
2 tbsp sunflower oil
¾ cup onions, chopped finely
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 medium hot green chillies (more or less according to your taste)
1 tbsp ginger, minced
¼ tsp asafoetida (optional)
1/3 cup mixed nuts of your choice (I used redskin peanuts and cashews)
1 tsp turmeric
8-10 curry leaves
2 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups poha (flattened rice)
2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp fennel powder (optional- I like fennel powder)
5 cups half-boiled water
¼ cup chopped coriander
Enough sunflower oil to deep fry
1. Place the poha in a small-holed colander and pour on the half-boiled water. Set aside.
2. Wash and dry the cubed potatoes, then deep fry in sunflower oil until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan and add the chopped onions, ginger, nuts and chilli. Cook until aromatic and the nuts are golden. Do not let it turn too brown.
4. Add the cumin seeds, turmeric, asafoetida and curry leaves. Sauté for 30 seconds. Add the fennel powder and the potatoes and mix carefully and thoroughly.
5. Separate the now cooled poha grains gently with a fork and add to the pan. Season with salt, sugar, lemon and pepper. Gently toss in the pan and remove from the heat. Garnish with chopped coriander.
6. Serve to hungry friends and family only if you’ve managed to refrain from scoffing the whole lot after cooking.
Don’t wait for me. Just dig in.
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