Poha to the people, New year, new breakfast

At the beginning of each new year I like to get myself in tune with how food fads and taste trends are moving. What´s in and what´s out? What´s been quietly brewing and what is now falling off the shelves? What should we now be ready and prepared to make our very own home made versions of? I enjoy what the predators are predicting. I dont mean predators do I? I mean forecasters. This year I have stumbled by accident on an ingredient previously unknown to me and I am sure even more unknown to many others, and most certainly not being promoted by those food forecasters I mentioned, its called Poha. It is flattened rice that is steam cooked. Rice is parboiled before being flattened so that it can be consumed with very little to no cooking. Like many food terms the word “poha” refers not only to the flattened rice itself but also to the dish made with it.
It is the ultimate Indian breakfast. Whether you are from North India or South India, you must have Poha for breakfast now and then. But the most unique thing about poha is that even though it is found in many parts of India that doesn't mean they are all the same. Poha adapts to the culinary needs of the people and manages to fit into their lives. In Nepal for instance it is called chiura and is the mainstay of breakfast dishes such as 
DAHI CHIURA (Beaten rice and curd) with fresh mango. Nepalese chef Santosh Shah, runner up in Masterchef the Professionals 2020 will no doubt, I hope, be including this unusual ingredient in his eagerly awaited first book out this spring "AYLA", A Feast of Nepali Dishes from Terai, Hills and Himalayas.
Poha can be spicy, poha can be sweet, it can be savoury. Poha can be healthy and poha can definitely be yummy! Poha is an easy, delicious and healthy breakfast recipe, popular in Maharashtra. Made with onions, potatoes and seasoning like chillies, crushed peanuts, lemon and curry leaves make up a tasty and easy one pot meal of Poha, especially when you don't feel up to cooking something fancy. So what could make getting out of bed in the morning less painful? Poha.I have taken my inspiration for this recipe from Indian chef Sanjeev Kapoor. As one of Indian television's most recognized faces, surprisingly he is not an actor or politician. He has been appearing on TV screens across India for over 25 years, teaching men and women of all ages to julienne and juice, baste and bake, and, as he describes it, spicing his food "with a dash of madness."However Kapoor refuses to define his food in any way or give it a label. After all, he believes that food should liberate and not confine. By the same logic, he frowns upon the term "fusion food," declaring that food has always been about experiment and movement. "That is how food traveled across the world," he says."How did the potato and chilli get to India?"
History of Indian cuisine dates back to nearly 5,000-years ago when various groups and cultures interacted with India and led to a diversity of flavours and regional cuisines.
Indian cuisine therefore, not surprisingly, comprises of a number of regional cuisines. The diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic group and occupations, these cuisines differ from each other mainly due to the use of locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Indian food is also influenced by religious and cultural choices and traditions. Foreign invasions, trade relations and colonialism had introduced certain foods to the country like potato, chillies and my most dreaded thing, breadfruit.
Fusion cuisine however is one that combines elements of different culinary traditions. Cuisines of this type are not categorized according to any one particular cuisine style and have played a part in a number of innovations."Fusion" is a general term for the combination of various forms of cookery and comes in several forms .In my eyes Kapoor´s recipe that I have taken as my starting point can not escape being classified under that umbrella .Certainly after my meddling it can. I am fearless when it comes to experimenting, my approach to both food and life is to take the bull by its horns. In summary, this is not dissimilar to Spanish migas but I have used poha in place of bread. It is a mutant cross of the basque dish Piperade and kedgeree, with a nod to egg fried rice.

"Reinvented Breakfast" Poha style

1 cup / 3 tbsp Poha
1 cup rinsed and desalienated bacalhau (optional)
tbsp finely chopped green chilli
1/2 cup spring onions chopped 
1 cup onions chopped 
1/4 cup red pepper finely chopped
1/4 cup yellow pepper
tsp chilli sauce like sriracha or sambal oelek
1 tbsp of ginger and garlic minced
tbsp lemon juice
3 eggs
salt and pepper

Heat 2 tbsps oil in non stick pan. Add spring onions and onions and sauté till they are lightly coloured.
Add red and yellow capsicums ginger garlic and poha to onions.
Stir in the poha,mix well and cook for 1 minute.
Whisk eggs in a bowl with salt and green chillies. 
Pour this into the pan and cook, stirring, till eggs are scrambled.
Add soya sauce, chilli sauce, reserving 1 tbsp for garnishing, and mix well. Add vinegar and spring onion greens. Mix well.Place poha mixture on a serving dish,and Serve immediately.

Poha French Fries

1 Cup poha
2 Potatoes (boiled)
1 tsp cumin, roasted
Black salt (as per taste)
1 tsp black pepper powder
Plain Flour and rice flour (to bind)
Oil (to fry)
Grind the poha into powder. set aside.Mash the boiled potatoes.

Add powdered poha and rest of the ingredients (except oil, and  flour) and mix everything together. Use hand to mix. This will prevent any kind of lump formation.
Now add some flour and rice flour and bind into a soft dough.
Take a small ball and roll in long cylindrical shape. Add some oil to make this process smoother.
Cut the cylinder into desired sizes. Keep in freezer for 15 minutes.
Take out and deep fry in oil. And to get extra crisp, semi fry the fingers and let them cool. Fry the again till golden brown in colour before serving. Serve hot with ketchup and enjoy.


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