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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chiwda - Savory Dish made with Pressed Rice

Continuing on the theme of items made at home during Diwali, another staple is the "Poha Chiwda". Pohe/Poha is pressed rice. The one I use for making Chiwda is the thin version though. The thick one is used to make the breakfast dish "Pohe". This is a very easy recipe, especially if you use the microwave for assistance. I do make it during the rest of the year too. It is just the perfect accompaniment with a nice cup of afternoon tea and definitely makes a healthy snack, especially my low fat version.

6 cups thin poha
2 tbsps oil
1/8 tsp turmeric
10-12 curry leaves
1/8 tsp mustard seeds
1/8 tsp jeera seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2-3 green chillies, sliced
pinch of hing
1/2 cup peanuts
1/4 cup dall/daliya/roasted gram
1/4 cup dry coconut slices
2-3 tbsp raisins
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
pinch of citric acid

Roast the poha till it is crispy. The color doesn't need to change. The texture will change and it will become crispy and crumble easily when crushed. The poha starts curling up a bit as it gets crispier. I generally roast the poha in the microwave. Start with heating it for 2 minutes at a times and then reduce this to 1 minute and then 30 seconds as it is roasted. Stir it in between to avoid heat from being concentrated on one patch. Keep a close eye on it to avoid burning as it gets closer to being completely done.
Mix the citric acid, sugar and salt together and sprinkle it on the warm roasted poha and mix it togther so that the poha is well coated. In a pan large enough to hold the poha, heat the oil. To this add the mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the jeera, hing, curry leaves, chillies, peanuts, and roasted gram. Fry the peanuts  and gram they turn start changing color. Add the sesame seeds, coconut slices and then roast these for another minute. Then add the turmeric, raisins and the seasoned poha. Stir all the ingredients well so that all of the poha is coated with the seasoning and turns a light yellow color. If you feel that the oil is less compared to the quantity of poha, you can add a little more oil to the pan before adding the poha. Cook this for a couple of minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and sugar as needed. Store in an airtight container after it cools down completely. This will last a few weeks and doesn't need to be stored in the fridge.

You can serve this with a few slices of onion with some lime squeezed over it. The combination tastes fantastic.

Check for the poha variety before you buy it. Do no use thick poha, the taste will not be the same. You can substitute red chillies for the green ones. Use 4-5 if using red ones. If a small quantity of turmeric you are using is sufficient to impart the yellow color, use a smaller amount. Adjust it as needed. Do not add more than 2-3 pinches, as turmeric has an overpowering taste. Add the coconut slices before the peanuts and gram turn brown, else they will burn while the coconut is fried. Also, sesame and coconut slices take lesser time to brown, so add them after the peanuts and gram. You can increase the quantity of oil to almost twice the amount noted above for a richer taste.


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