Pohe & Adrakwali Chai/ginger tea

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The long silence that we’ve had on this blog is thanks to hectic activity in the past couple of days. Its’ the season of moves. While my husband and I are moving home, Akkta is going forth to start a Masters and my parents are moving home too! All the best to Akkta for her new endeavour, may she shine bright and make us all proud!

As far as our move, it’s bitter-sweet. If there is an ideal time period to settle into a town, I would peg it at 3 years. That’s how long we have been in our current township and just as the routes were getting mapped in our brains and we were developing rapports with eatery owners (foodie alert!), grocers, local businesses; its time to up and move.

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Every move is challenging and exciting. As a child I always loved them, though for an army kid I lead a fairly settled life and didn’t hop a school each year. While the rearrangement of furniture according to a new floor plan appeals to the decorator within, the process of packing and unpacking is a tiring but cathartic experience. There are so many memories that get hidden behind the new; each layer that I remove from the bookshelf or wardrobe takes me back a few months or even a year. It’s a revelation of all that we’ve done, thought and heard from others we know. But these reminisces aside, moving is about a massive spring clean up. If you grew up in India with those floor to ceiling built-in wardrobes, you know what I mean by the ‘kabhi toh kaam aayega‘ (will be useful someday) category of things stored in the topmost shelves. Almost always, writing from experience, those things never get used. Out of sight is literally out of mind and usually a death knell for the junk rotting up there. I know some who compulsively store things, (hoarder is too harsh!) I am sure you know a few too!

So, while I try to clear the clutter and pack up, I am sharing with you one of my favorite snack time/ breakfast combinations- Pohe with a cup of Ginger tea.

Pohe
Pohe are flattened rice that are used mostly in rice-growing belts of the Indian subcontinent to prepare snacks. Though my family comes from north-western India, Pohe have been a part of our food repertoire for at least three generations. The version I have grown up eating is a common preparation in Maharashtra. My father was posed there, but before my parents, my grandparents had already set the foundations for an inclusive and adaptive cooking style.

Preparation time- 20 minutes
Serving size, 4

Ingredients

Poha, 2 cups, dry
Cooking oil, 3-4 tbsp
Curry leaves/kadi patta, 7-10
Green chillies, 2
Mustard seeds/Rai, 1 tsp
Peanuts, 1/2 cup
Onion,chopped, 1
Turmeric powder,1/2 to 1 tsp
Red chilly powder, 1/2 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste. (1 tsp approximately)
Frozen mixed vegetables, 1 cup
Lime/lemon, 1/2

Process
First, measure and put the pohe in a large bowl. To clean them you can do a visual check first to remove any chaff that might still be in there, this is made from rice after all! Then, wash it. Do not mush it in your hand. Fill the bowl gently and run your hand though the pohe. Discard water, fill again and repeat until it runs clear. Finally strain the pohe in a colander or large sieve and let it sit while you prepare and make the base.

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Tadka/base
Wash curry leaves, chillies and the peeled onions. Thinly chop the onion and the chillies.
Next in a wok or pan, heat oil. To this add rai seeds and washed curry leaves. Once the two are cracklings throw in the peanuts. I do not deep fry but let them roast until reddish-brown.

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Once they are done, add the chopped onions. Cook just a minute or two. I like to keep the onions a little crunchy. Add the seasonings and mix well. Off late I have started adding about a cup of mixed vegetables, if you want to then do it at this stage. Let them cook for about 5 minutes.

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Finally, add the pohe that have been sitting in the sieve. Mix well with the base, turn the heat to low and cover.
After a few minutes, open and sprinkle lime. Serve hot, garnished with coriander and accompanied with some hot and spicy tomato ketchup and home-made mint coriander chutney.

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Adrakwali Chai (Ginger tea)
If you are like me then you want the snack and tea to be ready together.
Since making tea doesn’t require too much preparation, you will be able to manage it quite well. Tea is my favourite morning and evening beverage 🙂

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Ingredients
Adrak/Ginger, 1 inch piece sliced
Water, 3 cups
Milk, about 1 cup
Tea leaves, 2-3 tsp
Sugar, to taste

Process

This post is like an addendum to an earlier post about tea seasonings. I had thought earlier to write about ginger tea, it is a staple in the winter months. Look at the post here to see the process of making tea. It is simple, add water to a pot, put in the ginger. When using ginger, wash it well, peel it and then crush it with a pestle before adding it to the pot. Before you add tea leaves let the ginger come to a boil with the water, you will be able to smell ginger in the air in a bit. That’s when its ready for the tea leaves. Let them boil for atleast 5 minutes before adding milk. Depending on how dark you like your tea you can vary the time and the quantity of milk.

Strain the concoction into mugs/cups and serve it hot. Enjoy with some pohe 🙂

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