Jan 28, 2010

Indori Kanda Poha and battle of the sexes

Indori: Born and bought up in Indore, MP, India; a foodie to the core; has aloo kachori, bhutte ka keese, garadu and kanda poha in the blood; one with a laid back attitude; easy going; likes to eat namkeen and laung sev with everything.

I have been late for my own event. But if you are an Indori (ref above) like me you would know it is nothing personal. We are a laid back lot, who do nothing in a hurry and take their time getting things done. (Just read the repetitious sentence to know what I mean!).
Which is a problem if you are married to a go getter, “hate lounging in bed”, up at the crack of dawn kind of fellow. There is no clause that makes it mandatory to disclose ‘sleeping in’ preferences before couples get hitched in an arranged marriage.
As a result, the first few months of our marriage were tumultuous, with me struggling to get used to the “leave in half an hour” to mean “leave in half an hour” concept of time. Him on the other hand had to get used to my, shall we say, easy as it goes attitude, in which half an hour could mean anything between 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
On a normal weekend morning I like nothing better than to get up at a godly hour (around 9 AM), make a nice cup of ginger tea and talk about the plans for the day, which may or may not get done by the end of the day. In my world it is perfectly acceptable as long as the meal that you planned on eating turned out right. He, on the other hand will be up at 6.30 AM (an ungodly hour, according to me), paying bills, catching up on emails and exercising. For him, the taste of food is secondary to the act of consuming it.
Nine years later, I still like my weekend breakfast to be poha, Indori style, with lots of onions, fennel seeds, peas and potatoes (the only thing missing are hot jalebis from the neighborhood halwai). He, who has grown up on upma and idli sambhar for breakfast, thought adding veggies to poha was tantamount to sacrilege. “That’s not poha, that’s vegetables cooked with poha!”
But what he didn’t bargain for was the “persistent foodie” that is inherent in every Indori. We may be laidback but we know our food and eventually we will convert you. By the end of our first year, T was making better poha than I and adding the ‘vegetables’ to them with restrained relish.
So here’s our recipe for Indori Kanda Poha that I first posted here, sans any photos. Another Indori Kanda Poha recipe can be found here.

2 cups thick poha (flattened rice)
1 cup onion, chopped 
1 small potato, chopped in thin, bite size pieces
¼ cup peas, frozen or fresh

For Tadka:
1 tsp Rai/ black mustard seeds
1 tsp Haldi/ turmeric
2-3 green chilies, sliced in small pieces
4-5 curry leaves/ kari patta
1 tsp fennel seeds/ saunf (necessary)
1/2 tsp sugar (necessary)

For Garnish:
When the list of garnish ingredients is as long as that of the main ingredients you know it is an Indori recipe. The following are optional but recomended (either one or two or all) to enjoy the Indori experience.

Fresh pomegranate seeds
Grated, dry or fresh coconut
Chopped onion
Lemon wedges
Grapes (you better believe it)
Namkeen/ sev/ chavana
Jeeravan powder (like a chat masala but made just for sprinkling on poha)
Wash the poha twice in water, drain and keep it aside. The poha 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 minutes.
Turn the heat off and garnish with chopped coriander and the above mentioned toppings of your choice.

And after that delectable feast of Indori poha and chai, I leave you with not one but two like minded fellow Indoris. Because we like nothing better than to talk about food before, during and after a meal.

The following was found here:
I think, Indore is one of the few places in the world where u can set up a small ’’thela’ serving poha -jalebi (Poha is a local dish, jalebi is a sweet dish) and if the taste is approved by the Indoriens, be assured u can earn enough for generations to come. When it comes to food, Indori chatoras stand a class apart. Poha, jalebi, garadu, sabudani ke kichrhi, somose-kachori, patis, khaman, pani puri - u name it and u have it. U come here with a new product and if its passed by the ’chotori jubaan’ of Indorians, don’t b surprised if u become a lakhpati in no time, a crorepati too is very much on cards - it happens only in Indore :-)

Excerpt from Rajat Jain's blog Useless Ramblings:
The other side-effects include missing the delicious Indian food. Being a foodie (and hence, a "bit" overweight) that I am, I obviously miss it. Especially when you order for a Daal Tadka, and get a layer of water above some half cooked and non-spicy cereals. Or when you have to contend with "maide ki roti."
Nah, whom am I kidding? An obsessed Indoree that I am, there was no chance on earth (or in heaven. I don't like hell.) that I could forget carrying Poha—Indoree Poha—with me. Two kilograms of Poha would be enough for 2 months. Or will they? Probably depending on how well I'd control my staple diet!

The poha with all the garnishes is off to Anita's Kitchen and to Sir's Corner who is hosting JFI: Fennel this month, started by Indira.


  1. OMG Jaya !!! I cant believe it! I cant call myself an Indori but I have lots of memories from those childhood twice yearly trips we used to make to Indore and Ratlam !! Sarafa - bhutte ka kees, Vijay ke patties, Kulfi - yummm !! and ofcourse the day starts everywhere with these yummy Poha that you mention...is it really sauf that makes the diff ? never noticed it ..is it in powder form maybe ? Ohh, how I wish I could do some amazing shopping and eat some amazing food that is of Indore ..

  2. Oh..and about husbands who wake up at crack of dawn ?? Is it a husband quality in general or does my hubby have a twin that he doesnt know of..what constitutes as early morning for him seems midnight to me :(

  3. For me and the husband, the only battle was to wake up before noon on weekends! Of course, all that ended with the arrival of the daughter who beats the rooster in the morning.

    But tell me, how did you convert the idli sambhar loving guy to one who made great poha? Maybe I should try your version with fennel seeds and grapes and pomegranates. Hopefully, that will turn things around. Your way of making poha sounds very very delicious.

  4. Lovely post Jaya - it was fun to read both about the different habits between the husband wife and also the food habits of Indoris - especially coz i have heard enough such stories from my best from Bbay - a marwari...one episode of The Foodie on Times Now (Kunal Vijaykar)featured Indore food and no doubt the Bhutte ki khees and I felt like joining my friend on her yearly trip to Indore just to experience the food - was scraed of coming back with a bigger waist though :)
    Will try out your poha, we love poha for brekkie, make the marathi version though or the guju version, so the addition of fennel seeds and garnishes will be fun!

  5. Lovley Pohe with shev on it..... I remember the Marathi song "AAyushya he chulivarlya kadhaitale kande pohe...."

  6. :-)

    I have never been to Indore. Ma did and got me the typical cotton salwar kameez which i had saved till a few years back.. yes from school years.

    Arjun' mom belongs to MP (Ghatakheri.. sp? ), but now all his relatives are from Indore..So when my MIL is "home" she is in Indore.

    I have never used saunf in my poha!! otherwise i make it the same way. I have to try the saunf next time and for my DD1 the pom will be an added bonus. she usually eats one whole anar by herself at one sitting:-D

  7. Hi Jaya, it was wonderful reading your post and reliving Indore again and yes the mention of aloo kachori has made my mouth water.. Thanks for linking my recipe too, that's so sweet of u to remember my post.
    It's just the ulta at my place..I am the early riser and S the late...
    I am the cleanliness freak and he does not see anything dirty in the house. I am the punctual type and he ....but end of the day, we have just got used to each other so much, that the differences though there do not trouble us any more...except the few days of my PMS..LOL..where I am a terror in the house and want everything perfect and just want to be pampered...few days are acceptable isn't it.

  8. lovely temting and an inviting poha dish. You can drop by in my blog and drop ur valuable comments.

  9. Dips, it is always a pleasure to meet another Indorie. If we aren't long lost twins then I guess our husbands are. :) And no the saunf is whole not in the powder form.

    Aqua, fortunately for me, my son has taken on my sleeping habits so we both sleep in late. :) As I said in my post, I am nothing but a persistent foodie.

    Khaugiri, my marathi is not so good but I like that song already. :)

    Soma, for a foodie like you, Indore will be a foodie's paradise. You have to go there one of these days. :)

    Pari, it was a pleasure to link your recipe. :)

  10. Okay, now you have no idea how much I can relate to your post, not cos I'm Indori but my husband is ! And as you mentioned I never knew that not so interesting poha breakfast could be eaten with so much of passion. And talking about jilebi especially with rabdi I used to feel my husband is crazy searching for jilebis for breakfast!

    Wonderful write up ; just sent him the link to feel nostalgic ;)

  11. Jaya,it was wonderful reading your post.Luckily hubby and me are of the same sort-love to wake up late, but sadly he has to wake up early to go to work and hence I got to be up to prepare his breakfast and lunch.But weekends are total bliss!!!

    We love poha and prepare it in many ways,south Indian mostly.Looking at that delicious spread,I can't help but ask-Can I drop in for a weekend breakfast?'

  12. Well, I guess I lucked out - both and me and hubby like to get up early and be up and about.
    We also love afternoon naps once we are done with whatever it is we do on weekends....

    The poha looks wonderful - Maharashtrian poha is what I grew up on in Mumbai, but this looks like something else!

  13. Kanchan, your'e an Indori now by association. Glad you enjoyed the post. :)

    PJ, you can drop in any time, though I suspect it will be long trip from China. :)

    Miri, Indori's have the knack of turning ordinary, every day food into something else altogether. :)

  14. Love the piece :-) Is veggies in poha an Indore thing ? We add peas and potatoes to poha too, I can't imagine otherwise. Saunf is what I haven't added though

    BTW was it you who sent a mail to DMC eons back ? Sorry, I didn't check DMC mails until now. Will add you as soon as I can

  15. Nice read Jaya. At our home, the roles are reversed. I love to wake up early in the morning (not on the weekdays), but on weekeends and sip a warm cup of tea, dunk with rusk. The husband on other hand refuses to wake up until noon :-)
    As with everybody else who commented, adding saunf, grapes or POM to poha is new to me.

  16. I suck at making poha but your pomegranate version has me wanting to try some! I never knew poha breakfast was eaten in so many states, I thought it was a Maharashtrian thing - we make a 'pulihora' with it but it's not eaten for breakfast and it's not very well known, I think.

  17. Love the writeup. I love my early morning time by myself before the others wake and demand to be fed. Poha is one thing I don't like but DH loves and I avoid making it because I can't make it real good. Should I surprise him with this version? Be nice once in a while ?

  18. Bong Mom, I am not sure if veggies in poha is an exclusive Indore thing, though I have eaten versions which also have cauliflower in it. And yes, it was I who had sent a mail to DMC. Since I didn't get any response, I just assumed I wasn't approved. :)

    Supriya,, Bong Mom, adding fennel and Pom is a must of Indori poha. :)

    Sra, look forward to your version of it. Indore used to be the capital of Holkar's a Maharashtrian family. Though, I suspect the fennel is a Jain or Marwari influence since MP does have a strong presence of the two communities.

  19. Indo, ever since we stopped turning the TV on the moment we wake up I too have started to enjoy the quiet mornings with my cuppa of chai. If making the poha will surprise him, go to town with it. :) There is nothing better I like than a appetizing surprise. :)

  20. Hey Jaya, things are kinda the other way around in my house, although I must say I am no early riser either. But given a chance, Desi would sleep through the day!
    Had never heard of the jalebi-poha combo, although I could definitely go for it, especially since jalebi is one of the few Indian sweets that almost always vegan!
    Love the idea of pomegranate seeds in poha as well-- an added layer of complexity.

  21. I suck at making poha AND sabudaana khichdi.. it never comes out 'right' for me..:(.. thanks for sending such a unique entry Jaya! Love it.


  22. Hi Jaya

    Thanks for visiting my blog.Loved u post,indori poha...i have also spent my childhood eating poha jalebi in breakfast, specially on Sundays at jabalpur


  23. HI......Jaya

    Lovely post.....it was so much fun reading about Indore's Sarafa....My aunt stays there and though I dont go there too often...I have been there enough to admire the foodies in Indore....where a walk after dinner is taken at Sarafa and samosas, gajar halwa, jalebi and everything else is eaten :)))I specially love the gajak there......yummy

  24. Hi Jaya,
    Loved reading your post. I have now added Indore to the list of foodie places I have to go. As far as poha is concerned, my husband makes a similar version (never with the fennel seeds though) almost every Saturday morning. I can never do the soaking part right.

  25. Coming from siri's corner..poha looks so delicious..

  26. Feels so glad about reading this reciepe and about indorians. Me too is part of the gang. Foto deh kar hi muh me pani aa gaya!

  27. This apology is for the girl who left a lovely comment in my moderation post but I deleted it by mistake instead of publishing it. If you would like to leave the comment again, I will make sure it is published. :)

  28. OMG bhutte ka kees...I am already homesick :( Your definition is very apt, and the recipe almost the same like we make at home...I especially like the pinch of sugar/jaggery bit (though I always forget adding this!) I think the variant with gobhi (and sometimes grated khopra) is more of a Maharashtrian thing...I enjoy all variants of Poha! Thanks for the wonderful recipe, looking forward to more Indori anecdotes :)

  29. I love this twist! I need to try it with fennel seeds as well as pom arils when they're in season next!

    Is this jeeravan powder similar to the Gujarati jeeralu? I've never been to Indore although my parents made their home there for a couple of years, much before I was born.

  30. Found your fun & educational & laar-tapkaao-ing blog through my daily search of 'indori' & 'poha'. After reading this, I am off to making some. I can eat poha for breakfast, lunch, dinner and as an in-between snack. BTW, have you found Indori level jalebis ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD? They are pathetic in san francisco bay area.

  31. Rajiv, I am glad you liked my version of Indori poha. And no, I haven't found Indori level jalebis ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, including another city in India. For that matter, kachori, pattis, samosas or garma garam gulab jamun (drool...). DFW does not score any points for its chaat or mithai either.

  32. OMG Jaya tai super duper like it...i couldn't stop relating myself on things you have mentioned gosh its so true i guess husbands love to wake up early when the wives love to sleep till noon on weekends lolz.....and Pohe my husband was like ...is every sunday is all about pohe????Iam like yep sunday breakfast Pohe Period ... :) he miss those idli sambhar vada sambhar breakfasts :D Well Chicago has a lot of Indian streets and places but no one was able to match Indori sev's taste and Jalebi wasnot able to find any whr.. :(

    Simply loved your blog..
    Thanks for sharing.

  33. Sarika,

    You are the second in the family, after Akshay, to visit and leave a comment, and I am delighted. BTW, an Indori will never be happy with the quality of namkin or mithai anywhere in the world except in Indore. :)

  34. I somehow landed on your page ..while looking for TOFU in indore...and found this blog exactly what i feel...sounded like you were describing me...I am in US and plaaning to indore next week and just the thought of eating all this is giving me so much joy that i can't explain...
    btw you should also add Lala ki chat..his dahi bada is awesome..he sells near court ..there is sikh gurudwara..just right there...as you pointed out that you can bring anything to indore..if its approved by chatori jubban then sky is the limit...i remeber there was not so many varieties of Kachori..only daal ki kachori was there..but now..omg...looks like we have tonns...daal ki..aaloo ki..pyaz ki...bhutte ki...:))
    wow that was refreshig...nice post..keep it up...

  35. Indore ke or ratlam ke Sev, What a good Combination yar.
    I like it most as i like my favorite Dish...
    Thanks to Ratlami or Indorian

    Ratlam ke Namkeen

  36. I am also from M.P. and when i go to Indore i really take this food. This is really very tasty and you can take it anywhere in Indore whether it is in market or any hotel in Indore. Really very tasty.!


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