Apr 2, 2009

Kanda Poha and Kadak Chai

Sunday morning breakfast in my home is always Kanda Poha with adrak wali chai. My dear husband, Tushar, has perfected the recipe over the years and like all things that he does he has got it down to a science. His favourite chef is Jacque Pappaine and just like the chef Tushar prefers to chop and cut his ingredients before starting the cooking process.
Tushar likes to chop the onions a little coarse and cut the green chilli first lengthwise and then in little pieces. Here in the USA my freezer is always stocked with frozen peas and so we use those year around. But fresh peas work too. You just have to cook them a little longer. Here’s Tushar’s foolproof recipe for kanda poha:

2 cups thick poha
1 onion, chopped
1 small potato, chopped thin
¼ cup peas, frozen or fresh (optional)

For Tadka:
Rai/ black mustard seeds
½ tsp Haldi/ turmeric
1 green chilli
4-5 curry leaves/ kari patta
½ tsp fennel seeds/ saunf

Wash the poha twice in water and keep it aside. It should be wet like a sponge but not soaking in water.
Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add curry leaves and chopped green chilli, fennel seeds and onion. Let the onions sweat on medium heat till they turn pink.
Add haldi and cook till the smell of raw haldi goes away.
Add the chopped potatoes and the peas and salt them. Cover and cook till the potatoes are fully cooked.
Add the poha and mix the onion-potato-peas together. Add salt and a pinch of sugar. Cover the poha with a lid and let it steam on low for 5 mints.
Turn the heat off and garnish with chopped coriander.
We also like to garnish the poha with sev and where I come from (Indore) we add Pomegranate seeds for added color and crunch. Of course a cup of kadak Ginger tea makes the Poha taste that much better.

The secret to our adrak wali chai is a 50-50 blend of Brook Bond Red Label and Vagh Bakri Chai. We do not like too much milk in it so for every two cups of water we add ¼ cup of 1% milk.

4 tsps of sugar
2 ¼ tsps of chai patti/ tea leaves
1/2“of ginger root

We mix the water, milk, sugar and tea leaves and let it come to a boil on medium heat. We have found that this brings out the most flavor of the tea leaves. Once the chai starts boiling we grate ginger in it and let it boil for a couple of more mints. Turn the gas off and let the tea leaves and the ginger give off their flavors. By the time you strain your tea it should be almost a terracotta color. That’s when you know you have kadak chai.


  1. Jaya, I am going to try your Kadak chai recipe. My husband studied in Ahmedabad, and right from those days he RAVES about the Wag bakri brand!. I m going to pick it next trip to Indian grocery!

  2. Why am I not surprised that when I googled for "kadak chai" the first result was a blog from an Indori! I'm a Maharashtrian from Ujjain, and considering that I have to google how to make chai, my cooking skills are self explanatory! But thanks for the wonderful recipe...I don't have Vagh Bakri so I'll just try it out with Red Label, and see how it goes! I'm sure anything I come out with would be better the European tea bags that I've been using. Next Sunday I'm going to try out the Poha! Thanks again :)

  3. Aditya,

    Good to hear from a fellow Indori (Ujjain is close enough, right). I am glad you are going to start making the tea with tea leaves and leave those nasty tea bags behind. I can never get used to the weak flavor tea bags impart. On the other hand, I have tied the tea bags to the handle of the pot and then boiled them in water to get maximum flavor.
    Also, if you are going to try the poha, check out the other poha post on this blog. It has the same recipe but I know you will appreciate the definition of Indori at the start of the post.
    Keep visiting.

  4. Aditya, forgot to tell you, Red Label will do just fine. I started using a mix because the spouse likes Vagh Bakari. Otherwise, I am a fan of red label.

  5. I tried every tea bag in the supermarket - Assam tea, Green tea, Black tea...but nothing works like good old chai patti and a recipe from a fellow Indori. Thanks! :) Very curious to see your Indori definition..I think I have some idea of whats in store ;)


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