Saturday, October 15, 2011

Kanda Pohe

I am back after a 10 day quick trip to India. My dad was not well, my mom had a fall, our dog died, leaving my parents very sad. My daughterly instinct kicked in and I had to go see them. And I sure am glad I did. The visit was very pleasant and I think I cheered them up a bit.

During my 10-day stay with them, my dad discovered this restaurant called The Peshwa Restaurant that specializes in Maharashtrian cuisine. Of course, we got all excited and set off in search of the restaurant. Driving in all that horrendous traffic, my dad finally took us to our destination. Mom and I rushed inside (you see, we were a trifle bit too excited!), while Dad parked, re-parked and then finally locked the car. We entered the restaurant and found only 2 guests sitting at a table. Disappointment set in as we thought that perhaps the restaurant is shut or maybe it is not that good a restaurant after all! But the red interior was far too inviting to just leave. And so we sat at a table, the waiter came and as soon we saw the menu cards, we knew it was going to be good! We ordered their "Gavran Jevan," that literally means "Village Food"--- food that is eaten in rural parts of Maharashtra. It was a feast! Here, you can check out their menu @

I was thrilled to find "Pohe" on their menu. Out here, I have never found this dish in any Indian restaurant, ever. The only time I have seen anybody mention Pohe/Poha and cook it was in one episode of The Iron Chef, where Chef Floyd Cardoz made it. Incidentally, poha is known to be Lord Krishna's favorite food and in our family, we all love poha. Oh before I forget, for those of you who might not be familiar with poha-- it is basically flat beaten rice and available in varying degrees of thickness, ranging from very thin to thick. Yes, there's a medium variety too.

I have been having emotional withdrawal symptoms the whole of this past week and living so far away from parents certainly is no help. And so this morning, thinking about my short and sweet India trip and The Peshwa Restaurant, I decided to make some Kanda Pohe. "Kanda" in Marathi means Onion and so Kanda Pohe means pohe made with onion(s).


1. 1 onion, finely chopped
2. A couple (or more) green chillies- chopped or slit- your choice
3. Peanuts- about 1 tablespoon
4. Cumin seeds- a teaspoon
5. About 2 cups of poha-- I used thick poha today
6. 4-5 teaspoons of oil for cooking
7. Salt, turmeric powder, pinch of sugar


1. Take 2 cups of thick poha in a colander and give it a quick wash in hot water. Alternately you could soak this thick poha in room temperature water for a few minutes, so as to soften the poha flakes.

Thick Poha
Quickly washed in hot water to soften the flakes
2. Take a pan, pour in a few teaspoons of oil and then add some peanuts and fry them. As they begin to turn brown, add a teaspoon of cumin seeds and just as they begin to splutter, throw in the finely chopped onion and green chillies. If you have curry leaves, you could add some, like I did today.

Onion, green chillies frying away
3. After about 5-7 minutes of sauteeing the onion, add salt per taste, a pinch of turmeric powder, followed by the softened poha and fold it all in. After mixing up everything, add a pinch of sugar and give it one more stir. For thick poha, you might want to add a quarter cup of water before covering the pan, just to make sure that the poha is nice and soft, else it might end up becoming hard and chewy.  

Note: This addition of just a pinch of sugar is very Maharashtrian. It just brings out the flavors even more (well, OK, I admit- when I don't know why something is added, I just say it brings out the flavor.......hey, even those Food Network stars say that!).

4. Cover the pan, cook it all together for about 5-10 minutes. And then eat and enjoy! You could garnish with some fresh cilantro and grated coconut--- mmmm! delicious!

Ready to be folded in
Almost ready!
Kanda Pohe-- delicious treat!
This morning's breakfast was lovely and while I sat all by myself at the table, savoring the deliciousness, I was transported back to my parents' place and the wonderful 10 days I spent with them......... 

Going  back to The Peshwa Restaurant- as we were enjoying our "Gavran Jevan," people started pouring in......... so I guess it is quite popular amongst the Maharashtrian crowd in Bangalore. Good discovery, Dad!

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