This month, the talented food bloggers who are part of the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge are exploring the cuisine of Madhya Pradesh, the ‘heart of India’.
I’m not sure if you guys know, but a few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Kanha in Madhya Pradesh. I was invited by Pugdundee Safaris, to check out their beautiful, beautiful Kanha Earth Lodge and indulge in a wildlife safari in the gorgeous Kanha National Park. This was my first and only visit to Madhya Pradesh, special in more ways than one. Spectacular as the food at the lodge was, I did not get a chance to explore the famed local food of Madhya Pradesh. Well, I was not much of a ‘food blogger’ then, and wasn’t very aware of the brilliant foods that the state has to offer. Now, I am older and better read, and definitely more aware! I think I need to go on a special trip just for hunting down some of those delectable-sounding dishes! Till then, I will make do with trying my hands at one of the state’s most well-known foods.
For the uninitiated, Madhya Pradesh has several vegetarian and non-vegetarian delights to offer. The cuisine changes in different parts of the state, depending upon its history and geographical conditions, but wheat and meat remain the staples almost everywhere. Amli Ri Kadhi, Bhutte Ka Kees, Indori Poha & Jalebi, Bedai, Gatpat, Garadu, Daal Bafla, Mawa Baati and Khoya Jalebi are some of the vegetarian dishes that you can enjoy in the state of Madhya Pradesh. For this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, I decided to make Indori Poha, a famous beaten rice dish from the streets of Indore.
The Indori Poha is not your ordinary dish of rice flakes. It is a fragrant, extremely flavourful version of poha that you have to try out to believe the beauty of. Freshly made Jeeravan Masala, the fennel seeds (saunf) that go into the tempering, the generous dose of sev, raw onions, finely chopped coriander and pomegranate arils that it is served with – all these are the hallmarks of a good plate of Indori Poha.
I made the poha with home-made, freshly ground Jeeravan Masala, and was richly rewarded for my efforts. The Indori Poha turned out lip-smackingly delicious, and was much adored by everyone at home. It makes for a beautiful breakfast option, something quite different from the usual for us. Needless to say, I’m so thrilled at having discovered this!
Traditionally, to make Indori Poha, the rice flakes aka poha are first steamed in a colander, and then the other ingredients are mixed in, one by one. I cooked this in a different way, though, in a pan, the way one would normally make Batata Poha or Kanda Poha. Like I said earlier, the taste was just awesome! I can’t wait to try making this the traditional way!
Now, let us check out the recipe for Indori Poha, shall we?
Recipe adapted from: Yummy Diaries
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
- 3 cups rice flakes aka poha
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
- 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons Jeeravan Masala, or as needed
- 8-10 Curry Leaves
- 2-3 green chillies
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
- Pomegranate arils, as needed for garnishing
- 1 medium-sized onion
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Sev, as needed for garnishing
- Wash the poha under running water a couple of times. Place in a colander, and let all the excess water drain away.
- Fluff up the washed and drained poha in the colander, gently. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and sugar. Mix well, gently, with your hands. Keep aside.
- Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.
- Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.
- Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds, and let them pop. Add in the fennel seeds, and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
- Now, turn the flame to medium. Add the poha to the pan, along with the Jeeravan Masala, slit green chillies and curry leaves. Mix well.
- Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring intermittently. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Switch off the gas.
- Mix in the lemon juice and finely chopped coriander and onion.
- Serve hot, garnished with sev and pomegranate seeds as needed.
- Dry red chillies have been added in the preparation of Jeeravan Masala, which gives it spiciness. You need not add red chilli powder in the preparation of the Indori Poha, as you are already using Jeeravan Masala.
- I have used the thin variety of poha here, so I did not need to soak it beforehand. If you are using the thicker version, you might have to soak it for a while before you begin making the Indori Poha.
- Adjust the quantity of green chillies, salt, Jeeravan Masala, sugar and lemon juice you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.
- I have used refined sunflower oil here. You may use any other type of oil you prefer.
- Pomegranate arils are a must in the making of Indori Poha – you can use as many or as little as you want. However, I have not used them since I did not have any on hand.
- Typically, thick Ratlami sev is used to garnish this poha. I did not have any of that, so I have used store-bought medium-fine sev instead. Use as much or as little sev as you prefer.
- Jeeravan Masala, sev, lemon juice and sugar, onion, pomegranate arils, fresh coriander and fennel seeds in the garnish – these are the essential components of Indori Poha, without which it just wouldn’t be the same. Please do try not to skip any of these ingredients when you make Indori Poha.
- Click here to go to the detailed recipe for Jeeravan Masala.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!
This recipe is for the Ssshhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I am part of. Every month, the participants of the group cook dishes from a particular part of India, using two secret ingredients assigned to them. This month, all of us over are cooking dishes from the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. My partner for the month, Poornima Porchelvan from Poornima’s Cook Book, gave me two secret ingredients – fennel seeds and onion – and I decided to use them in making Indori Poha.