4 (3)

Breakfasts, Vegetarian

Kanda batata poha (pounded rice with onion and potatoes)

Kanda batata poha (pounded rice with onion and potatoes)
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Savory porridges are now trending in urban breakfast spots in America, but they’ve long been staples in India. Two writers, Michelle Huneven and Kannan Mahadevan, each returned from recent trips to the subcontinent — Huneven to the south; Mahadevan to ... Read more

  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, more if needed
  • 1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, divided
  • Salt
  • 2 cups thick poha
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • Pinch asafetida powder
  • 4 to 5 curry leaves, fresh or dried
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons raw peanuts, skins removed
  • 2-3 hot green chiles (Thai or Serrano), thinly sliced or slit lengthwise
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Plain yogurt, for serving
  • Lime (or other Indian-style) pickle, for serving

Step 1Heat the oil in a skillet or saucepan large enough to accommodate all of the poha. Add the potatoes, season with a pinch of the turmeric powder and salt, and stir to coat. Cover and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the potatoes from the pan, leaving the oil behind.

Step 2While the potatoes are cooking, put the poha in a bowl or fine strainer. Run under a cold tap for 5 seconds, then pour off or shake out excess water. The poha should be well-moistened but not soggy. Add the rest of the turmeric, the lime juice and ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste, and mix well.

Step 3Reheat the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat, adding a little more if necessary. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and fry until they jump around in the pan, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the asafetida powder and curry leaves. Stir once and reduce the heat slightly, then add the onion and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Step 4Add the peanuts and the green chiles and cook, stirring, until the peanuts and onion are lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Step 5Add the fried potatoes back to the skillet, then lower the heat and stir in the poha. If the poha feels overly dry, add a tablespoon or two of water. When everything is evenly combined, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to cook the poha until it is heated through, about 3 minutes.

Step 6Taste, adjusting the seasoning with an additional ½ teaspoon salt, or as desired. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.Serve the poha with a few spoonfuls of yogurt on the side and your favorite Indian pickle. It is also delicious with poached eggs.


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