Indori Poha

Poha is a very popular breakfast or tea-time dish in India. Due to the diversity in Indian cuisine, there are different variants of poha. Poha is basically a flattened rice flake and is available in different grades of thickness. Having grown up in Maharashtra, I have had the ‘Kande Pohe’ (uses medium poha) which is pretty awesome. This time I tried the ‘Indori Poha’ from the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. So, the first difference I noticed in the preparation method is that for this dish, I had to use thick poha. The second difference is in the ingredients used as the garnish. The presence of fennel seeds and a hint of sweetness in the form of sugar and pomegranate seeds are the prime differences in the two styles of poha. When you add all the flavorful components in this colorful dish, I can assure you that you won’t stop eating it. This dish is also perfect for a teatime party as poha with chai is a divine combination. For those staying in Singapore, I picked the nylon sev from Mustafa and thick poha from Sri Murugan stores.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 3 pax
Time: 20 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients :

  • 2 cups thick poha / flattened rice flakes
  • 1 big potato cut in cubes
  • 1 big onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts (without skin)
  • 10-12 cashews
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated coconut (optional)
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • A handful of pomegranate seeds
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp nylon sev (for garnish)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 lemon
  • Some cilantro leaves for garnish

Indori Poha

Indori Poha


Method:

  • Soak the poha in water for 5 mins. Drain using a strainer and keep aside.
  • Cut the veggies on the side so that the prep work is done.
  • Poha veggie preparation

    Poha veggie preparation

  • Heat oil in a pan on a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds, fennel seeds and curry leaves and wait till they splutter.
  • Once you get the pronounced aroma of fennel seeds, add 75% of the chopped onions and some salt. If you don’t like raw onions as garnish, then add all the chopped onions at this stage.
  • Once the onions turn translucent, add the peanuts, green chillies, cashews and saute them for around 2-3 mins.
  • Next, add the potatoes along with salt and turmeric powder. Cover the pan with a lid so that the steam cooks the potatoes quickly.
  • Once the potatoes are cooked, add the soaked poha and mix it well – such that all the rice flakes are coated with the yellow turmeric powder.
  • Check the salt level at this stage and adjust only if required. If you like a bit of sugar, add at this time.
  • Switch off the flame and keep the pan covered for around 7 mins so that the poha can cook a bit more in the steam.
  • Indori Poha

    Indori Poha

  • Finally garnish it rest of the chopped onions, cilantro leaves and grated coconut before serving. You can also add the pomegranate seeds and nylon sev (I forgot to take the pic with these toppings)
  • Lemon goes great with poha, so squeeze it just before serving. Serve this dish hot / warm only!

Tips:

  • Do not over-soak the poha. If you do that, the flakes will not separate and the dish will become mushy.
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Dates and Coffee Milkshake

During summers, you crave cool and refreshing drinks. If that craving is satisfied with a feel-good ingredient combination like dates and coffee, it gives you an upbeat mood. The best part is that you can spin off a milkshake in less than 15 mins, and it does not feel like a lot of work. During one of my visits to Mustafa, I stopped at the dates section and was amazed at the variety they had in stock. I decided instantly that I wanted to use them in some form of drink or dessert. For this Dates and Coffee milkshake, I have used Khudary dates from Mustafa. They ended up being a perfect pick for this aromatic and amazingly refreshing drink.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 2 pax
Time: 15 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients :

  • 12 de-seeded dates (6 dates per glass)
  • 1.5 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 330 ml milk

Dates and coffee milkshake

Dates and coffee milkshake


Method:

  • Split the cardamom pods and powder the seeds using a mortar and pestle. Freshly pounded cardamom is better since that imparts a pleasant aroma in the drink.
  • Put the cardamom seeds, de-seeded dates, coffee powder, milk and ice cubes into the blender and blend it till the dates and ice have broken down into a smooth drinkable texture. The blending process should take maximum 2 minutes.
  • Dates and coffee milkshake

    Dates and coffee milkshake

  • Serve immediately. This drink can also be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. In that case, before serving, stir the drink well to redistribute the dates.

Tips:

  • For those who don’t like caffeine, you can substitute coffee powder with hot chocolate powder. I have tried a version of this drink using Hershey’s Hot Chocolate and its equally amazing and refreshing.
  • You can also soak your dates in warm milk before you put them in the blender for 10-15 mins. This is an optional step in case you want a very soft texture.

Herb-Roasted Baby Potatoes

When planning a party for a large group of people, you are constantly on the lookout for dishes or ingredients that can be cooked simply, quickly, and in large batches. Potatoes fit the bill perfectly as they are versatile enough to fit into any course of the meal. The ‘Herb-Roasted Baby Potatoes’ dish works wonders as a starter because you can let the oven roast the potatoes evenly while you get time to focus on other things. And who does not like crisp potatoes with a shining layer of butter glistening away on them! Getting a high quality butter will definitely enhance the flavour of this dish. Serve them on skewers for your guests to have firm hold on the potatoes.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 8-10 pax
Time: 90 mins
Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients :

  • 2 kgs baby potatoes , scrubbed and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Herb-roasted baby potatoes

Herb-roasted Baby Potatoes


Method:

  • In a pan, place the potatoes and cover with water. Add salt to it and stir it well. Bring the water to a boil over high flame.
  • Once a lot of bubbles have come in the boiling phase, lower the flame and let the potatoes cook slowly till the water evaporates. This will take about 30 mins. At this stage, switch off the flame. The potatoes will now be covered in salt.
  • Wash the potatoes in tap water to remove the excess salt.
  • While the potatoes are boiling, start the prep work for seasoning. Combine the shallot, garlic, parsley and thyme in a food processor. Pulse to mix the ingredients. Add in the butter chunks and pulse to form a homogeneous mixture. Your herb butter is ready at this stage.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Adjust the oven rack to middle position. Prepare a roasting tray / 9 x 13 pan and line it with a baking sheet or aluminium foil.
  • Heat the herb butter in a saucepan on medium flame till it melts.
  • Toss the potatoes along with half of the melted butter in a bowl. Transfer this to baking pan and roast in the oven, shaking the pan occasionally, for about 20 mins. The potatoes should have crisped all over.
  • Transfer the crispy potatoes to a large bowl and toss in the remaining the herb butter. Garnish it with salt and pepper and serve hot. The potatoes would have soaked in all the flavours of the herbs and the potato skins should have gotten wrinkly giving you a perfect party appetizer.

Tips:

  • Keep an eye on the potatoes as they boil. Turn off the gas once the water has evaporated.
  • You can add other flavours to the herb butter as well – for a spicy kick, toss in some paprika or chilli flakes.
  • If you do not have access to fresh herbs, just use readymade Italian seasoning.
  • If you are in Singapore, then buy the baby potatoes from wet markets. They sell a bunch in a single packet.