Batata Poha or Aloo Poha is a light and simple dish that can be rustled up in under 20 minutes. This makes it a wonderful brekkie option for busy weekdays, or to serve as a light dinner. When made right, it tastes absolutely fabulous too!
Today, I am going to share with you all the way I make Batata Poha.
What is Batata Poha?
Batata Poha aka Aloo Poha refers to flattened rice (‘aval‘ in Tamil), cooked with potatoes. This delicious confection is a favourite breakfast in several parts of India, especially up north.
Poha is cooked differently in different parts of India (this Tomato Poha on Priya Vijaykrishnan’s blog is an example). In Ahmedabad, I grew up with the Gujarati version of Aloo Poha – sweetish, mildly spicy and sour – and that’s exactly how I like it. In today’s post, I am going to be sharing the recipe for poha made in this style, garnished with chopped onions and coriander, often topped with sev and pomegranate. I have fond memories of relishing this Gujju-style poha (locally called ‘Bateta Pauwa’) at street-side breakfast joints.
What goes into this Batata Poha
The major ingredient here is flattened rice or poha, of course. I use the medium-thick variety of poha from Bhagyalakshmi brand. This is neither the paper-thin poha that is meant for frying nor the thick variety that needs to be soaked. Just washing it in running water is good.
Potatoes are another important component of this dish too, which is spiced with green chillies. A simple tempering of mustard, cumin and asafoetida goes in. Lemon juice and jaggery are used for flavouring the poha, and I have served it topped with coriander and chopped onions.
How to make Batata Poha or Aloo Poha
This is how I go about making it.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
1. 2 cups flattened rice (poha), medium-thick variety
2. 2 medium-sized potatoes
3. 2 green chillies
4. 1 tablespoon + 1/2 tablespoon oil
5. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
6. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
7. 2 pinches of asafoetida
8. Salt to taste
9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
11. Juice of 1 small lemon or as per taste
12. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder
13. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
14.1 small onion, finely chopped (optional)
1. Peel the potatoes and chop into small cubes. Cut the green chillies into halves. Cut the lemon and keep it ready.
2. Take the flattened rice in a colander. Wash well under running water. Leave undisturbed for some time, for all the water to drain out.
3. In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the cubed potatoes and a little bit of salt. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute the potatoes for 3-4 minutes or till they are cooked through and start browning. Then, transfer the cooked potatoes to a plate and keep aside.
4. By this time, all the water would have drained out of the flattened rice. Fluff it up gently.
5. Now, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in the same pan we used earlier. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Next, add in the asafoetida and cumin seeds. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds, taking care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Turn the flame down to low-medium. Add in the cooked potatoes. Mix gently.
6. Add in the drained flattened rice and the chopped green chillies. Mix well.
7. Add in salt to taste, turmeric powder and jaggery powder. Mix well.
8. Cook for about 3 minutes on low-medium flame or till all the ingredients are well incorporated together. Stir intermittently. Taste and adjust salt and/or jaggery at this stage and switch off gas.
9. Mix in the finely chopped coriander and lemon juice. Your Aloo Poha is ready. Serve it hot, garnished with finely chopped onion (if using).
Is this recipe vegan and gluten-free?
This Aloo Poha recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet.
It is not gluten-free because of the use of asafoetida. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour, to a lesser or greater extent, and are therefore best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. So, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering if you want to prepare a gluten-free version of this poha. However, if you are able to find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely go ahead and use it.
Tips & Tricks
1. I add in the green chillies only after the drained poha is added to the pan. This helps keeps the spice level moderate.
2. Make sure you don’t overcook the potatoes. They should be cooked through but not mushy. Cook them on medium flame without adding any water.
3. Adjust the quantity of jaggery, green chillies and lemon juice as per personal taste preferences. The above quantities work perfectly for us.
4. Sugar can be used in place of the jaggery. I would not recommend skipping the sweetener completely, but you can definitely do so if you do not prefer it.
5. Do not overcook the poha. After the poha is added to the pan, mix it with the potatoes and other ingredients and cook for just about 3 minutes. Overcooking will render the Aloo Poha hard and chewy.
6. I prefer cooking the potatoes separately first, and then adding them to the poha later, the way I have done here. This way, the tempering stays fresh and doesn’t get too burnt. Alternatively, you can do the tempering first, add in the chopped potatoes, let them cook, then add in the poha to the pan.
7. Curry leaves and finely chopped ginger can be used in the tempering too, as can peanuts. I don’t use them because we do not prefer them in this dish.
8. Pomegranate arils, finely chopped tomato and fine sev can also be used to garnish the Aloo Poha. I have not used them, here.
9. Skip the onion if you aim to prepare a no-onion no-garlic version of the poha.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!