RHEA’S POTATO + ONION POHA

Rhea is Mum’s friend Praful’s nephew’s wife. She is Maharashtrian and lives in Mumbai. She often makes this for the family for breakfast, but it’s easily lovely enough for lunch or dinner. Poha is partially cooked and flattened rice. It’s a magical ingredient which doesn’t need soaking like basmati does, and cooks quickly. You can buy it from Asian grocery stores or online.

Serves 2–4 for breakfast

3 cups thick poha
3 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, preferably red-skinned
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
1½ Indian green chiles, finely sliced
12 fresh curry leaves (optional)
2 medium red onions, halved and finely sliced
½ pound Desiree or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch cubes
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1¼ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons desiccated or fresh grated coconut

Put the poha into a sieve and run cold water over it for a full minute. Move the grains around delicately with your hand to ensure they’re all wet through.

Place a large lidded frying pan over medium heat and, when hot, add the peanuts. Stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, until browning, then transfer to a plate.

Put the oil into the same pan over medium heat and, when hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds, green chiles, and curry leaves. When the curry leaves crackle, add the red onions. Cook for around 6 minutes, until the onions are translucent, then add the potato cubes.

Stir-fry the potatoes for a minute, then add 4 tablespoons of water, cover with the lid, and cook for 4 minutes. Uncover, add a little more water if need be to stop the potatoes from sticking, and cook for another 4 minutes, or until completely tender.

Add the poha to the pan, along with the turmeric, salt, lemon juice, coconut, and another couple of tablespoons of water. Stir to mix, then turn the heat to low, cover with the lid, and cook for around 10 minutes, until the rice is cooked.

Check the salt and lemon juice and adjust as you wish. Serve with hot ginger chai (see here).