Kaanda pohe ~ Beaten rice flakes with crisp onions, a traditional recipe from Maharashtra

Kanda poha with kokum kadhi – A Maharashtrian breakfast

This is my all time favourite Maharashtrian breakfast. It is perfect for lazy, late morning weekends when you want to just cook up something quick and settle down on that couch with your favourite comic strip and a mug of coffee.

There was a time when I had very nearly got tired of this delicacy! Our friend, A was stationed at Shrivardhan, a beautiful, verdant, rustic city along the Konkan region of Coastal Maharashtra. The route to Shrivardhan from Thane is quite mesmerising. It is peppered with virgin beaches and the scent of the sea almost calls you out to the beach even before you have settled in! I remember taking walks early in the morning from our place to the beach just to see the sunrise and repeating this simple pleasure during sunset. It is good to know that you can dig your toes into the cool sand and feel it slipping away, smooth and fast as you pick up your feet without encountering oil or clay. While you are there you must also take time to visit the Harihareshwar Temple close by and take a boat trip in the Arabian Sea if you would like to watch leaping dolphins against the setting sun. What we saw were scenes straight out of a picture postcard! While I discovered and enjoyed the taste of ‘solkadhi‘, my non-veggie friends would eat nothing but fresh sea food like prawns, lobsters and fish!

For a day or two we also stayed at a nearby resort. The resort was reasonably priced but the best part was the breakfast and the appetizers. It was an ‘off-season’ visit and we being the only residents, the resort did not offer much variety. It was kaanda poha for breakfast, for tiffin and for the next morning’s breakfast. We did not expect much but when we asked for something different, the men in the kitchen would just not bother saying that the resort was pretty far from town and they simply could not buy so much and stock – such is service at small cities – but we knew we were having everything fresh and homegrown! The kokum kadhi offered as appetizer was so good that we insisted on having it with every meal and so was the food – they had fresh paneer, pulao and made a lip smacking vangyachya bharit to name a few of the delicacies we ate. Solkadhi or kokum kadhi is charateristic of the Konkan region. Just as Tamilian cuisine makes use of tamarind in gravies for added tang, Konkanis and Maharashtrians use kokum in curries. Recently a friend of P, gifted us a bottle of pure kokum extract. Ever since, P very often prepares kokum kadhi or solkadhi. It is an appetizer and a digestive that takes hardly any time. My friend, Anita, informs me that in her region the kadhi is seasoned with mustard seeds and curry leaves and taken with rice. I enjoy it better as an appetizer. Perhaps it is the same with rasam. While we Tambrahms mix it with rice and have it as part of our mains, most of my North Indian friends prefer having rasam out of a bowl, like soup minus croutons!

Today I had both my favourties together for breakfast – one of those days when the mom needs to cook for her own pleasure:D.

The other dish poha – kaanda pohe – is popular all over India and the method of preparation varies with region. The Maharashtrian method is the quickest and is my family’s favourite. Poha is made by flattening dehusked rice into thick or thin flakes. It is amongst the early foods introduced to children. These flakes just need to be immersed in a little water/milk/thin curd to make them softer as they swell and then squeezed. You can use them imaginatively as you wish. Drained poha mixed up with grated jaggery and coconut, or with milk and sugar makes an excellent nutritious snack for young children as well as adults. Poha is known as chivda in Hindi and Aval or avil in Tamil.

Recipe for kaanda pohe or kaanda-batata pohe (Flattened/beaten rice flakes)
Serves: 3 persons

Ingredients:
2 level cups – flattened/beaten rice (poha)
1 medium sized potato
2 medium sized onions sliced thin
2 green chillies slit lengthwise
1 lime to squeeze over the dish just before serving
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder – 1/8 tsp.

Kanda pohe
Kanda-batata pohe


Seasoning:

2tbsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds/rai
Curry leaves – 1sprig
1tbsp. chopped cashews or raw podded peanuts

Garnishing:
Chopped coriander leaves and a smattering of fresh grated coconut (2tbsp.)

Method:
Use a wide colander to rinse the poha in running tap water and let drain. After five minutes try squeezing some of the flakes between your index finger and thumb. If it still feels firm repeat rinsing and let drain. The rice flakes will swell absorbing some amount of water and will turn soft to touch but they should not be soggy or retain water. After a few minutes sprinkle turmeric and salt to taste.

Cut the potatoes lengthwise and into wedges. Turn them and chop into thin slices. Wash and set aside.

Heat oil in a wok and splutter the mustard seeds followed by green chillies and curry leaves.

Add the cashews and roast till pink. Add onions and caramalize in low fire. Now add potatoes and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook on low heat, stirring in between till the potatoes turn crisp and cooked.

Add the drained poha and mix well to distribute the flavours and turmeric uniformly. Cover and cook for a few minutes, about 4-5 before serving.

Serving:
Serve on a plate garnished with chopped coriander and topped with a tsp. of grated coconut. Squeeze a dash of lime for added tang, if you like.

Recipe for solkadhi or kokum kadhi
Makes 2 tall glasses

Solkadhi
Sokadhi or Kokum kadhi

Ingredients:
3tbsps. of pure kokum extract OR
Soak 8-10 kokum petals in just a quarter glass of water overnight or for 3-4hours and use the water after removing the petals.
1 packed cup freshly grated coconut
About 1 to 1.5 cups plain water
2 green chillies
2 pods garlic – peeled

Method:
Grind the above together and strain out the liquid completely with a muslin cloth.

This can be had as an appetizer. If you wish to have it with rice, heat a tsp. of oil in a seasoning wok, splutter a tsp. of cumin or mustard seeds followed by a few curry leaves and pour into the strained liquid.

Since this contains coconut milk as well, the liquid SHOULD NOT be heated as it will curdle immediately. The appetizer can be had fresh or chilled. If left for 10 to 15 minutes the drink will split into two layers of coconut milk and water which is natural.

Update late into the night:
Consistency of solkadhi should be that of coconut milk. It should be pale pink in colour. The no. of petals of kokum to be used depends on the variety. Sometimes you get the same sourness using just 3 or 4 petals. The taste should not be too sour, but it should have a hint of sourness. Adjust the amount of extract according to your taste adding little be little of the kokum extract.

Some more Maharashtrian delicacies on TONGUE TICKLERS……

Kothimbir Vadi/Coriander Gramflour squares / Thalipeeth / Jhunka or Zunka

Another way with poha -Gojavalakki

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Comments

Have your say

  1. Solkadi's definitely comfort food for me. And with Kande Pohe? Just delicious!
    You definitely made me nostalgic for the beauty of the Konkan coast. Getting a glimpse of those lush palms fringing the sea is a rush like none other.

  2. lovely clicks…yummy delights..please do participate in my first cooked food event…check my blog for details

  3. Thank you so much Harini for the solkadi recipe. I love it so much yet have never been able to make coz I do not know the exact proportions. I loved Harihareswar .. in fact love all the beaches on the Konkan coast. 🙂

  4. Love poha, we have ours with diced onions & bhujia:-) never had it with the Kokum & the only kokum we would have is when we were in goa & got a big bag of it. My mom treasured it so much that i found a few left in the corner of the refrigerator…. years after we had got it ..when she passed away. see how with everything i manage to find a sad association? i am going to lose my mind:-(

    your pictures are getting gorgeous with single post.

  5. Delicious pics!

    Where do we get those bluw sheets u used in the pics?

  6. Sounds like a fantastic destination the konkan coast!
    About the solkadi new recipe !

  7. Comfort food.. Yummy clicks.

  8. Vaish, it is so long since I went on a trip along those sides that I was nostalgic too for the clean coast and the solkadi!

    Shama, thanks! I will soon check up:)

    Sharmila, I know! That route is so beautiful and so virgin!

    Oh, Soma! Yes, I can understand the association but I hope you will have a happier one next time you find them! At least you know you will have company when you lose your mind:D.

    VS, they are handmade sheets. I found them at the art shop as my daughter wanted some for her school work.

    Cham, yes it is! You must make a trip next time you are in India.

    Pavani, comfort food yes! Thanks:)

  9. Delicious pohe dear..! Lovely clicks..!

  10. The combo sounds delicious.I wanted to buy some kokum during my visit to Mumbai, but it slipped from my memory when I was there.

  11. Kokum kadhi is the comgfort food and can definitely be taken with rice.Kaande pohe are simple and uick delight.Love the clicks dearie.Never heard of Shrivardhan,and happy to know you had a great time.

  12. kaanda pohe is a staple at my home too .. I love kokum, we make kokum tambli & kokum saar at home .. I have never tried solkadhi though .. I was looking for the recipe, never know they used coconut milk in it ..

  13. That is one of my favorite.Simple and comforting all the time.

  14. oh ya..ive had a lot of these here in Goa…great pictures..very impressive

  15. Love Solkadi especially with daal, a great comfort food for us. unique combination with Kande Poha..

    Wish you all a very happy Diwali.

  16. Awesome combi…love both of them so so much!

  17. Chai and Kanda pohe I knew…but Pohe & kokam kadi..together look very romantic:)

  18. Hi Harini! How have you been? Love that poha! We call it puli aval. solkadi is new to me. Happy Deepavali!

  19. Sounds like a great place to visit…and kande pohe is one of my favorite anytime foods 🙂

  20. Thanks all.

    Jayasree, you get best kokum in Goa and Mangalore. What you get in Mumbai is extremely dried with hardly any flavor or taste. So try it in those areas.

    Sweatha, most areas in the Konkan Coast have still not been commercialised. I will be taking you on a trip soon to Amboli:).

    Supriya, Dershana, thanks for the wishes. Got back just a few days back:). Same to you!

  21. Kanda pohe my fav breakfast item.. I tasted a variety of this at my friend's place where she had added capsicum to it.. Loved this version also.. I make this often now.. 🙂 Drool worthy pics 🙂

  22. Thanks so much for this poha recepie.it’s v healthy and delicious dish.and thanks for making it so easy to make even at the shortest notice or for a healthy breakfast.

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