Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pohe / Seasoned Flattened Rice Snack

I come from a family of breakfast eaters...we always eat breakfast, no matter what time we wake up !! Traditionally though, the breakfasts that my mom prepared for us were usually savoury. It was only after I came to the US that I found out that people here preferred their breakfasts on the sweet side !
The recipe that I have today is one that we often had in the mornings before we went off to school. It is simple, quick to prepare and quite delicious ! Maharashtrians call it 'kanda Pohe' and in Kannada, it is called
'Oggarisida avalakki' . What it is , is a simple preparation of seasoned flattened rice, garnished with fresh coconut and cilantro leaves.


1 C flattened rice (pohe, avalakki)
1 tbsp canola oil (or oil of choice)
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp peanuts
1 -2 green chiles
1/2 C finely chopped onion
1/4 C finely diced potatoes or green peas (optional)
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp fresh shredded coconut
2 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
juice of half a lemon

1. Soak the flattened rice in plenty of water for a couple of minutes and then drain completely and set aside.
2. Add the salt and the sugar to the flattened rice, mix well.
3. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the urad dal, chana dal, peanuts and the mustard. When the dals brown slightly and the mustard seeds start spluttering, add the green chiles and the onion.
4. Saute for a few minutes on medium heat. The onion should retain a slight crunch.
5. Add the turmeric to the onion mixture and mix well.
6. If using potatoes or peas, add them to the pan now and cook until the veggies are tender.
7. Pour the lemon juice and mix.
8. Add the flattened rice and mix thoroughly. Be gentle, though, you dont want the avalakki flakes to get crushed !
9. Sprinkle the coconut and the cilantro on top and serve hot !

Enjoy a plateful of this simple dish as breakfast or as snack with a hot cup of coffee , tea or beverage of your choice  !

Side Notes :
1. I have had this dish where the cook used so much oil that there was a layer on the bottom of the plate..Although this might increase the flavor and give a crunchy fried mouth feel, it is neither healthy nor necessary to use so much. Just use your judgement and make the dish a healthy one!
2. You can buy flattened rice in big packs in Indian grocery stores. There are two types - thick and thin...This recipe needs the thick variety...the thin avalakki will not be able to stand up to the soaking.
3. Try flattened rice made out of brown rice, if available in your store.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Usher in the new year with something sweet !

I hope your new year is off to a great start ! I spent a quiet evening with my family at home....couldnt even keep my eyes open to see the ball drop ! I guess having a 10 month old whose nightly sleep patterns can best be described as sporadic, will do that to you !
Coming to the recipe, I guess its been around for a long time, judging by the number of variations on the internet and how long people have been making it and delighting others with it :)
I only made slight changes to account for available ingredients.
Without further ado, then - here is the recipe for my magic cookie bars with oats crust!


1.5 cups toasted oats
5 tbsp butter (melted)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 can condensed milk
1 C shredded sweetened coconut
1 C mixed nuts of choice
1 C chocolate chips

1. The original recipe called for a crust made with crushed graham crackers. But since I didnt have any on hand, despite the grocery trip that I made the previous day, I had to come up with one made with oats.
I toasted 1.5 C of plain rolled oats on the stovetop and pulverized them in my mini food chopper after they cooled down.
2. Add the cardamom powder to the oats.
3. Melt the butter and mix with the oats mixture. I used a 1/2 cup of butter that the recipe called for, but I think a little less will do as well.
4. Press the mixture into a 9 X 9 or a 13 X 9 pan. The larger pan will give flatter bars and the smaller pan will give thicker ones.
5. Pour the condensed milk evenly over the crust.
6. Layer the nuts, coconut and chocolate chips evenly over the condensed milk.
7. With a spatula, press everything evenly so that the condensed milk seeps upwards into the other layers. Alternatively , some sites suggest that you could pour the condensed milk as the last layer over the other ingredients.
8. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, until the coconut browns a little and chocolate chips melt a tad.
9. Cool , slice and serve !
10. If for some reason, you have difficulty slicing, refrigerate overnight and then slice the next day.

Be aware that this is in no way a healthy recipe :D ...With the condensed milk, chocolate chips and the sweetened coconut flakes, this is pure sugar overload. So make tiny slices and enjoy moderately.
That said, the oats crust added a nice crunch and a contrast to the sweet filling. This is a decadent dessert and should be enjoyed sparingly. But do try it at least once and share it with family , friends and colleagues and see their love for you exponentially increase with each bite !

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year ! May the new year herald the beginning of good tidings, an abundance of health and happiness and a celebration of everything that is dear to you !!