26 June 2007

Poha – As homely as it gets…

Amchi Mumbai on a sunny Saturday noon.

During my vacation in Mumbai, we decided to go to Flora Fountain to buy books off the street. Aah, that's the beauty of Mumbai streets, you'll find just about anything there! After a long bus ride to Churchgate, we walked to Flora Fountain where there were rows and rows of book sellers. The thrill of finding books at one-fifth the original price and still bargaining with the vendor is unimaginable here!

Flora Fountain :
Commissioned by the Agri-Horticultural Society of Western India in the 1860's, the fountain was built in honour of the then Governor of Bombay, Sir Bartle Frere. The design was prepared by R Norman Shaw, and the fountain was sculpted in imported Portland stone by James Forsythe. The fountain cost Rs 47,000, a princely sum in those days. The statue flanking the top of the fountain is of Flora, the Roman Goddess of Abundance; and hence the name. On the lower tier are four statues on the four corners, depicting ladies in four different attires. Water spouts at different levels along with miniature collection pools and lion-headed gargoyles complete the fountain. True to its name, the sculpture also depicts an abundance of floral motifs. For more read

Flora Fountain and BSE in the background.

BSE: Bombay Stock Exchange Limited, now synonymous with Dalal Street, is the oldest stock exchange in Asia. It is the first stock exchange in the country to obtain permanent recognition in 1956 from the Government of India under the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956.The Exchange's pivotal and pre-eminent role in the development of the Indian capital market is widely recognized and its index, SENSEX, is tracked worldwide. For more read here.

BSNL: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. formed in October, 2000, is World's 7th largest Telecommunications Company providing comprehensive range of telecom services in India. Within a span of five years it has become one of the largest public sector unit in India. For more read here.

MCMG: The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai was formed in the year 1873 as Mumbai's civic body. Through the multifarious civic and recreational services that it provides, the MCGM has always been committed to improve the quality of life in Mumbai.

VT/CST: Modeled on the lines of the St Pancras Station in London, Victoria Terminus is undoubtedly the Raj's piece de resistance, complete with carved stone friezes, stained glass windows and flying buttresses. It is Gothic architecture at its best, an awesome edifice that most citizens view with deep pride. At the top of the central dome stands the triumphant figure of Progress. The station was christened to commemorate Victoria Jubilee Day in 1887 when India's first steam engine puffed out to neighboring Thane, about 45 kms away. Today it has been rechristened Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus after the Maratha warrior. And the old steam engines have been replaced by electric ones. But to the 2.5 million commuters who push past its massive portals everyday, this is still VT, the pulse of a throbbing city.

One more look :

And after this long walk from Churchgate to CST, it was time for some ghane ka ras or sugarcane juice!!

Fond memories of Mumbai evoke thoughts of typical Mumbai food. So here's a recipe for poha, a simple yet versatile dish that one can whip up in minutes. It makes a quick and light breakfast on weekdays, healthy and wholesome with different combos of veggies and nuts thrown in. Each one has their own version of making this.

You need:
2 cups poha/beaten rice/avil
1 onion chopped
4-5 green chillies chopped (you may reduce the spice)
1 small potato boiled and chopped
a handful of boiled green peas
2 tbsp grated carrots
2 tbsp red/yellow bell pepper
a handful of peanuts and chana dalia
a sprig of curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder to taste
1 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
juice of 1 lime

Put the poha in a colander and wash under running water. This way, the poha remains moist and soft and does not become soggy. Heat a tbsp oil/ghee in a deep pan. Throw in the cumin seeds and let it splutter. You may use mustard seeds instead if you prefer. Throw in the peanuts and chana dalia and let it turn red. I sometimes add cashewnuts and raisins for variety. Now add the onions and curry leaves and fry till the onions are translucent. Add the potato/peas/bell peppers/carrots/ any other combo of veggies you prefer and fry lightly. You may add a tomato if you like a tangy taste. Add the poha/beaten rice, salt, chilli powder (optional) and turmeric and mix well. Take off the flame, add a spoon of ghee on it if you like. Squeeze some lime juice over it and garnish with coriander leaves.


sra said...

I've been a fan of poha for nearly a year now. Enjoyed reading your post - Flora Fountain was the first thing we visited in Bombay after settling into our hotel!

Raaga said...

Incidentally, I made this just this morning :-)

trupti said...

This is a breakfast Classic in so many Indian homes....I like the addition of the veggies in there!
Thanks so much for your entry!


Sharmi said...

Jyo, regarding AFAM, if you are interested in sending the old entries you are most welcome. but please repost them and do give me the link and has to be done by today.
BTW lovely pics of mumbai.

Sandeepa said...

You are still homesick aren't you :)?
Poha is a popular snack in my home. Strangely didn't know it was Marathi until Sra's post

DEEPA said...

i miss mumbai after seeing this ...poha looks great

bee said...

i lent one of my flora fountain books to a buddy here, and he screamed, "this is a pirated work. it is a copyright violation".

it's true, but then one can bet a 25 dollar book for 100 rupees.

archana said...

I love South Mumbai,and poha is a favorite for breakfast :)

Ramya's Mane Adige said...

Poha and Sugarcane juice is a wonderful combo!! I love it too.... :)

Swapna said...

You brought back some very fond memories. I and my frnd used to spend hours and several rupees on those street books.
Poha recipe is very good. Lovely addition of veggies

Linda said...

Hi Jyothsna, another lovely post to show lovely Mumbai... I feel like I'm on tour :) Thanks so much for sharing this!

Vcuisine said...

A comfort food and nice write up. Viji

Asha said...

Hi J! I always enjoy Mumbai pics!:))
I just posted mine too,photos I mean ,take a look.I will be back next week:))
Poha is always my fav. snack.

Poonam said...

Aaaaahhh.....reminds me of home sweet home

Prema Sundar said...

One of my friends used to make this very well.. have never been to Mumbai and nice to see its lovely pictures.

Jyothsna said...

Sra - Poha is a quick fix! Did you like Bombay?

Raaga - I too can say "ditto" :)

Trupti - Thanks!

Sharmi - Thanks. I'll give AFAM a skip this time...a bit rushed!

Sandeepa - Hmmm, maybe :) Till I get over it, bear with me :)))

Deepa - Welcome to the gang!! :)

Bee - I was expecting such reactions!! :) Flora Fountain zindabad!!

Archana - Only South Mumbai???

Ramya - Ahh, if I could get some sugarcane juice here too...!

Swapna - yeah...those were the days!!

Linda - Thanks, hope you enjoy the tour!! :)

Viji - Thanks!

Asha - Hi! I saw the pics! Enjoy your vacation!! :)

Poonam - I did think Bombay looked pretty in May!!

Prema - Try the poha, it's quick n easy!

Shilpa said...

Hey, architecture here, too! :) Sigh, I must visit Bombay one day soon or I'll go nuts wondering what all this yummy street food tastes like! I particularly liked the photo of the sugarcane juice seller, reminds me of my childhood.. :)

Sorry I forgot to answer your question, I'm still reading the Namesake, am a very slow reader! :)

Will blog soon, have been so busy, but thanks for continuing to visit me! *hugs*

Anonymous said...

I do love poha...great recipe...loved the mumbai pictures...ohhh how I would love to visit the city...thanks

Susan said...

Walking through rows and rows of books sounds perfect to me. Thanks for the photo journey as well; I really enjoyed it.

Jyothsna said...

Shilpa - Hmmm, you must visit Mumbai sometime.

Dilipbhai - Thankyou! And do keep stopping by...

Susan - Am glad you enjoyed it!

Susan said...

Lovely post, Jyothsna. Mumbai's architecture is a knockout. I don't think poha is homely. I have oatmeal or Kashi cereal everyday - could use a change. Is poha like instant rice, already cooked?

Jyothsna said...

Susan - Poha is beaten rice or rice pressed into flakes which we get to buy at the grocer's here. I suppose it's available easily in the US too. It is softened with water before cooking. Poha is commonly prepared in Indian homes for breakfast or as a light snack as it takes only about 10 minutes to prepare. And quick to gobble up if you are in a rush to work!! ou can read more about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poha_(rice). Hope I've solved your query. :)

Nanditha Prabhu said...

a nice write up!
yes poha is the most easiest snack!

Susan said...

I've done some online sleuthing; there are some U.S. sources for poha. Thanks, Jyothsna, for explaining it to me.

KitchenFairy said...

Dear,Is this for me ??I never had this Poha..But this recipe is simple ,I will try..Liked ur Post!

Jyothsna said...

Nanditha - Thankyou! And welcome to Currybazaar!

Susan - You are welcome!! :)

Kitchenfairy - You can have it all! :) Try it.

Sia said...

wow... i loved seeing those piles of books u posted in flora fountain. i can easily spend whole day(many days) checking those boooks and buying cart loads of them:)

Jyothsna said...

Supriya - You are back? I can join you buying books!! :)

marriedtoadesi.com said...

This is one of my favorite recipes! And I love the view from your home.


TBC said...

MY first time here. You have some great recipes here.I like your poha, I make something very similar to this version.

Jyothsna said...

Thanks Kanchana and TBC!